On a recent project management training course several course members queried the concept of project scope. The course participants are not full time project managers, some are team members and project management is seen as an add on to their normal day job. The group wanted a clear illustration of a good project scope.
I gave them an example by suggesting we decorate the room we were working in. The group identified a wide range of activities that delivered the overall project. Acting as the client I said financial restrictions would not allow us to improve the central heating system (the room was really cold) and two other areas were not needed. They suddenly saw the concept of in and out of scope.
I then got them to look at their own projects identifying what was in/out of scope. Several people fed back that their project scope did not really exist or the scope was very loosely defined. After the activity they reported that these were looking somewhat tighter. The next step was getting senior management support!
Later in the course we explored change control and the atmosphere in the room changed. I could see people being more attentive, reading through notes made earlier and it was not long before someone made the connection with scope suggesting that this is where clearly scope really wins out. One other person said they needed to go back and spend much more time on this area. She mentioned that motivation was an issue and if a clear scope could be developed then it would help this issue enormously.
All is not negative. Another course member mentioned that they had a change to scope which was beneficial to the project. They did however link this to a need for an effective change control process.
The group left the two day event much more confident. The one thing which shone through was the value of a clear project scope and a process for effectively managing inevitable changes.
So, my question to you is how realistic is your project scope and do you have a process for managing changes to scope? Over to you!