The art & science of scoping management

Scoping is the make or break element of the project. It’s a major determinant of  the project’s profitability – and success – as it relies on the correct assessment of hours, inputs and resources. Scope creep is one of the most common reasons projects run late and over budget.

As a project manager, your most important role is scope management as it directly impacts the bottom line, contributes to success of the project as well as the company, client satisfaction, and your own professional development.

Scoping is done early in the project life-cycle. The output is the project plan which sets out what will be done – and not done, which is signed off by the client and the project team.

Scoping is the big picture view of the project covering a number of areas:

  1. Business requirements
  2. User requirements
  3. Tech requirements
  4. Vendor engagement
  5. Resource allocation – specify what type of resources are being allocated, and the hours involved and with a high level of detail
  6. Measures of success – what are the objectives of the project and how will you determine success for the client?

How do you scope?

An equally important item to include is what assumptions are being made by you and your company, and the client. Or as this article suggests: who will touch a project, at what point, and how intensely. This also involves testing a number of scenarios and asking ‘what if…?’

For example, what if the client-provided content isn’t written in a manner that’s appropriate for the web? Who will be responsible for structural editing, and how intense will this effort be? If your team edits the content, additional hours will be needed and therefore the project scope needs to change…

As a general guide, the scoping exercise requires one week, with another week allocated for discussion with the client and sign off.

Review the plan

An essential component of scoping is often missed  which is the review of achievement against internal milestones/KPIs. Build in the time and discipline to compare actuals against budget, which will help you refine and perfect  your scoping methodology – and be a better project manager.  Of course accurate timesheets are essential to this part of the process. If you missed the earlier discussion on time sheets you can review here on the Digital Nation blog.

For more on scoping, the elements required, and project leadership, attend the Advanced Digital Project Management workshop in Sydney on 26 July, and Melbourne on 31 July. Make sure you book now as spaces are limited.

About Claudia Sagripanti

Involved in the evolution of mobile marketing and advertising from the early years, including co-founding Mobile Marketing and Advertising Awards, founding chair of AIMIA's Mobile Industry Group, development of mobile advertising guidelines for industry as well as commercialisation strategy.