Writing a Scope Statement: Part 1

This informative article illuminates the need of effective scope statement and how you can write one which might help guide a project to successful achievement. The different chapters of a scope statement are discussed, in addition to suggestions on how to reduce scope creep.

Introduction - Where to Start

A scope statement is among the most important pieces of a project, and writing one can be a struggle for a project manager – regardless of what sort of project management method is being utilized. But, an effectively written scope statement will help all of those other project flow along with minimal problems. Lets have a look at how to write a good scope statement, its essential elements, and the pitfalls to avoid during its creation.

The firsts step on writing a scope statement is entering the project name, project charter, and a listing of the project owner, sponsors, and stakeholders. Next, A project validation will have to be identified, along with project requirements, milestones, and deliverables. Any non-goals - items that fall not in the scope of the project - should be identified here. Last but not least, cost estimates have to be provided within the scope statement. These details may be readily accessible or it may must be compiled from various sources, but the scope statement is where it requires to be documented altogether. This is sometimes a troublesome task, but it is a essential one. As the project advances, everyone involved knows where they can look should a question arise.

A scope statement is just one of many project management templates and forms available for download here.

Sharp and Brief is the Rule

A scope statement needs to be specific and brief, and also the project name is an effective place to begin. A simple yet effective project name reads something such as 'Create a Marketing Plan For Increasing Sales of Widget X in Chicago'. This really is a lot better than 'Marketing Plan Project', which is definitely to the point but certainly not clear. The aim of the project name is to record the project to ensure that everyone involved understands what is expected throughout the life of the project. A great project name also helps provide a vision of in which the project is headed. You can download a good example of a scope statement by clicking here.

A project charter has to be drafted next. A charter is usually used for three different reasons:

* Permitting the project
* Offering a high level overview
* Determining the main stakeholders

The charter often includes the name of the project owner along with project sponsors. Furthermore, it identifies objectives or goals, and limitations on resources or time. Finally, the charter is used as a center point during the entire life of the project, which is often especially useful during change control conferences for minimizing scope creep. Scope creep is a occurrence in which the scope of a project progressively increases as time passes.

The scope statement needs to identify the reason behind the project. This can be called the project justification. It is almost always a statement or two determining why the project is being made. It’s crucial to have the project justification recognized because it will help to give general direction to the project in addition to focusing the final goal. The project justification needs to be clear and exact manner so that it identifies a quantifiable measure of accomplishment for the end of the project. A highly effective justification might read like the following:

The following project is to produce a successful marketing plan for the month of August 2011, as a way to increase sales of Widget X by 15% in the Chicago metropolitan area. This is a very good model of an effective justification because it is quantifiable and qualitative. Specific boundaries are set in regards to what is the predicted result of the project so there isn't any ambiguity.