March 19, 2020

What To Include In Your Project Scope Statement?

In this article, you will learn about what is a project scope statement and what you should include in your project scope statement along with an example.

A well-experienced project manager knows: A successful project requires good planning. A project is an endeavor to create a product or service. At the heart of the planning of a project lies a project scope.

A project scope helps identify what the project is and isolate project-specific tasks and constraints. It establishes the purpose of the project and how to bring it to fruition.

What Is A Project Scope Statement?

A project scope statement includes the final deliverables, as well as any constraints, resources and key features identified within the project. In short, it lays out the boundaries of the entire project.

A good statement is essential to reinforce the project scope for all involved parties. It will encourage successful buy-in from potential stakeholders, as well as ensure that all project participants are on the same page.

It also helps to filter irrelevant tasks, which prevents wastage of time and resources. Project scope statements can often determine the difference between a successful and unsuccessful project.

What To Include In Your Project Scope Statement

Picture a project like a painting. Each aspect of the project scope statement is a stroke of paint onto the blank canvas. With each element described and detailed, the entire picture becomes clearer and you can see the formation of the project.

Although it is important to go into as much detail as possible, it is impossible to formulate a list of every single potential aspect of the project and to dive into meticulous detail with each specific task.

Subsequently, the artwork will never be completely detailed but, similarly to the stakeholders, it should provide enough of an interpretation for you and potential stakeholders to decide if they would like to invest in it.

To ensure that you meet all the main aspects of the statement, the following points are important to include in your project scope statement:

  1. Justification

A project always addresses a solution to a particular need or problem. The statement should begin by noting the requirement or problem and end with how the project will provide a solution to the identified problem. This justifies the need for the project.

An example of such a need could be that customer feedback has recently indicated a request for an extra tool for skipping on your exercise app. To address the problem, the project would include developing an appropriate tool to meet that need.

  1. Description of the Scope

This requires a list of the scope of the project indicating everything that it requires ordered from most important to least. This helps to establish project boundaries and pinpoint the responsibilities and roles needed for the specific project.

Besides, it manages your stakeholders’ expectations/input and provides the team members with the means of developing more focused creative ideas, as they know the limitations of the project.

  1. Main Objectives 

These are the goals and targets that you would like to achieve as a result of the project. They can include the project deadline and goals such as improving customer satisfaction, bringing in more revenue or partnering with a particular stakeholder.

  1. Deliverables 

This is a list of all the outcomes that are necessary to meet the business objectives of the project. Among many things, they include the product itself, instruction guides, associated learning material, and any marketing efforts.

  1. Exclusions

In addition to knowing what lies within the boundaries of a project’s scope, it is paramount to have a list of what lies beyond the scope. Keeping a clear focus solely on the project goals avoids the unnecessary usage of time and resources.

This list of activities that do not fall within the scope may include:

  • Future additions of features to the application that do not fall within the current project timeline
  • A fully engaged customer service, where the intended (more efficient) customer service may be in the form of updating the application from the feedback received by online reviews.
  1. Constraints

The three main constraints that affect any project are known as the “Triple Constraints”. These include the projected time, money and scope of the project. They are all interconnected, which means that when one variable changes, it alters the others.

In addition to these, the other constraint factors that may occur could include resources, skilled labor, and methodology and client specifications. These should be listed along with possible solutions to mitigate any problems that may arise.

  1. Assumptions 

Assumptions are closely linked with project constraints. Listing the assumptions provides an important insight into the areas that are key to success and where the largest risks lie.

An example of a typical item on the list of assumptions is: “The final stage for the project review will be completed by time x”.

Example of A Project Scope Statement

A good project scope statement, although encompassing many elements, could be as simple as the following example:

The project involves the construction of a pedestrian bridge over a section of the river. The bridge will be built as a truss bridge made from timber with steel joints where necessary. It will measure 4 feet in height and width and span a distance of 30 feet. Pedestrians in the area anticipate this to increase the accessibility to facilities. The bridge will be positioned to the north of the road intersection close to the points of interest.

What Is A Scope Of Work?

Despite sounding similar, it is important to note the key differences between project scope statements and the scope of works.

The scope of work encompasses a consultant-client agreement that lays out the work to be completed for the project at hand. Some of the specifics of this agreement entail:

  • The project deliverables (the product and its results)
  • The timeline and project phases
  • A method to record the project progress

The focus of the scope of works is to define the project layout, whereas the project scope statement builds on that initial layout by further outlining and detailing the exact plans and requirements of each stage of the project plan – from its inception to the closing.

Scope Of Work Template

The scope of work should focus and elaborate on the following areas within the project:

Glossary – A defined alphabetic list of words, abbreviations, and terms that are found in the document.

Problem Statement – A short and concise statement noting the problem that has been identified and will be addressed by the project.

Goals – Abroad visions and list of aims that the project proposes as a viable solution to the problem.

Objectives/Deliverables – Specific points built up from the goals that the project aims to achieve and develop.

Administration – A list of all the reports, legal documents and other paperwork required for the successful project implementation.

Timeline – an indicated time frame in which the project will be developed with its various phases.

Some extra pro-tips are to be specific and clearly explain the terms and jargon avoiding the use of complex language, use visuals to minimize the number of words and grab the viewers’ attention and get sign-offs to ensure that the relevant personnel is on board with the final plan.

The scope of work is important in providing a general overview of the project outline. However, it is crucial to be thorough in its execution to ensure that the subsequent detailing of the scope statement does not miss any key points.

How to present the scope of work?

Conventionally, the information of a scope of work and project scope is presented in a report format but there are more creative ways to bring forward the information so that it is more appealing and effective in certain contexts.

Mind maps are highly effective in this regard. By visually representing the information, mind maps allow for a greater natural flow of creativity, which makes them ideal for brainstorming and identifying different aspects of the overall scope. They also help to spark interest and engage stakeholders during presentations and improve project investment.

In general, try to keep your language simple (and make sure to define any jargon when its use is unavoidable), keep statements short and concise and only include information that contributes value, avoid sweeping statements which you may be held accountable to at a later stage, and ensure that you address all the questions mentioned above.

Final Thoughts 

Project scope statements and the scope of works set the trajectory of any pioneered endeavor. Returning to the analogy, it is generally a simple process but often requires much time and detail to produce a work of art that adequately represents the project. When done successfully it is to the benefit of both you and the stakeholders.

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