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Once a project has started, there are many factors that can cause a change in the project scope. Armed with a scope management plan, scope changes can be absorbed into a project seamlessly without causing damage. Without one, however, scope creep is likely to derail your project faster than you can say “I thought we could manage without one!”
In this blog, we’re going to discuss what exactly a scope management plan is, how to create one, and give some examples.
What is a scope management plan?
Well, how about we start with what it’s not? A scope management plan is not a physical document, but rather a series of implementations that help manage project scope. It’s a plan for how the project scope will be documented, rolled out, and approved by stakeholders.
But wait, what exactly is project scope?
Project scope is the agreed-upon deliverables for a project. Going beyond what was originally intended for the project means going beyond the project scope.
Scope creep is the term used for the unfortunate reality of projects going beyond the scope.
Why is a scope management plan important?
A project scope management plan ensures that everything required of the project gets done in the right way by defining how, what, and by when tasks should be done.
Having a concrete scope management plan also helps you avoid project enemies, such as scope creep, budget overrun, an accumulation of non-billable hours, and missed deadlines. When you have a plan to refer to, you’re much more likely to notice if things start to veer off course and catch it before it’s too late.
Having said that, some sort of scope change is almost inevitable in any project. The way to handle scope change so as not to let it derail your project is by having a change request process. Types of change request processes vary from project to project, but it generally involves having a plan for when change is requested, such as a document for the change request to be detailed on, with a place for stakeholder signatures. This document also makes it clear that if the change request is approved, there may be a condition, such as an increased budget, or a pushed-off deadline.
Having a change request process should be part of how you plan scope management.
What are the key elements of a scope management plan?
- Define who the project stakeholders are and what they want out of the project
- Detail the project requirements in a SOW (Scope of Work)
- Further, break down project tasks with a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure).
- Decide and document how the WBS will be controlled and kept up to par.
- Determine how deliverables will be handed to stakeholders.
- Prepare a change control process to effectively handle change requests.
How do I create a scope management plan?
Now, let’s get more nitty gritty and define what exactly is involved in all of the aforementioned steps.
What is the first step in developing the project scope management plan?
1. Define project stakeholders & expectations
Once you know which stakeholders you’re dealing with, it’s time to gain clarity on what they would like you to do. A good way to do this is by holding a meeting for the purpose of laying out project requirements and making sure everyone is on the same page. It’s highly recommended to show stakeholders visuals of what you see as being the end deliverables, as visuals are a great way to ensure that there are no misunderstandings.
2. Detail the project requirements in a SOW (Scope of Work)
Now that you know what exactly your stakeholders want to be done, you can send them a SoW (Statement of Work) and ask for a signature. This will give you the security that you’re on the same page and you have correctly understood what is wanted out of the project.
3. Further break down project tasks with a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)
With a WBS, you can visually show team members the breakdown of tasks expected of them. You can also use a WBS to track progress throughout the project by checking development against the WBS.
4. Document how the WBS will be implemented
It’s important to put someone in charge of ensuring that whatever is on the WBS is carried out in real life. Without this in place, there isn’t much point in spending time creating a WBS.
5. Determine how deliverables will be handed to stakeholders
Imagine you had a deliverable all ready to be sent off, but instead of being sent off to the right people, it remains with your project team…until the annoyed phone call comes, asking why the deliverable is late. There needs to be a procedure in place for who is going to hand over the deliverable and to whom.
6. Prepare a change control process to effectively handle change requests
As mentioned above, a change control process is an important part of a scope management plan. When a change request is made, you can handle it cooly and calmly by getting the stakeholder requesting the change to fill out the change request form. You can then discuss what actions will be necessary for your team to handle the scope change, such as an increased budget or timeline, or additional personnel. And don’t forget, if the change request is not something feasible, you have the right to say no!
What is a scope management plan example?
Let’s put things into context with a real-life example:
A creative agency has taken on a website project. Their client has asked them to build a website for their company that sells gourmet chocolate arrangements.
How will they create their scope management plan?
Let’s go through the steps that this company would go through to create its scope management plan, as listed above.
- Write a list of stakeholders-Mr Willy Wonker, Charlie Bucket's grandparents, and Veruca Salt’s parents. Document what they would like out of the project-a flashy, five-page website with a brown color scheme.
- Write an SOW document with all the project requirements and terms, and get it signed by stakeholders.
- Create a WBS to make things simpler for the project team. E.g. Jack to gather company details, Sally to build a website wireframe, Taylor to design the perfect golden chocolate bar to use as the company icon on the website, and Jason to write hilarious, lip-smacking copy to match the company's tone of voice.
- Put PM, Venessa, in charge of ensuring that the WBS is carried out.
- Set a date for sending Willy Wonker the finished website and put Tim in charge of sending it.
- Decide on a change control process in case Veruca Salt begs her parents to make real chocolate bars pop off the website, or Charlie Bucket really can’t wait and his grandparents ask for the website to be ready tomorrow.
In this sample scope management plan, you can see what a good head start the scope management plan will give the project. Without it, the company would be unsure about who’s meant to be doing what, vague of project requirements, and unprepared for scope change requests.
How can Workamajig help you with your scope management plan?
So you have your scope management plan, and you’re all raring to go that’s great! But just before you jump in, how are you going to make sure that all your careful planning gets put into practice? And how will you know whether resources are being put to use according to your plan, or whether you are safely within your budget and project timeline?
As our Workamajig users will attest: Workamajig gives you the confidence to dive head first into a project, knowing that your scope management plan is not just a plan, but will be put into practice through Workamajig’s all-in-one project management software. How? In all sorts of ingenious ways, like:
- Giving you real-time updates on project status, including how much time is being spent on what.
- Showing you exactly where your finances are holding and if you’re within budget.
- Showing you exactly how close your project is to completion, and what still needs to be done.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your project-put Workamajig is in charge behind the scenes