Scope Management


In setting the foundation for discussing the project management function of Scope Management, one has to first understand that this concept entails managing the entire scope of the project. “The scope of a project can be either the work content or component of a project. It can be fully described by naming all activities performed, the end products which result and the resources ‘consumed’” [10]. Scope Management, therefore, clearly has to be a concern for any project manager.

Although all of the project management functions addressed in Project #121 are being developed individually, as a whole they provide a uniform framework for PMI’s “Body of Knowledge.” The functions are interrelated and mutually supportive. To achieve the objectives of a project, they must also be employed in an integrated manner. This is especially inherent when discussing Scope Management.

Conceptual Development

Conceptual development entails the identification, definition and documentation of the project’s objectives to meet the goal(s) of the project sponsor. Included is the selection of the best summary level approach to achieving these project objectives. Also included in this process is the identification of the need to find a solution.

The end items resulting from conceptual development can include:

  • Detailed results from conceptual analysis
    • - what precipitated the problem
    • - expected results
    • - cost estimate at the project summary level
    • - benefit/cost analysis (if the solution offers economic benefit)
    • - constraints considered
    • - alternatives considered
  • Conclusions
    • - problem and solution at the summary level
    • - recommendation whether to proceed or not to proceed to the preliminary phases of the project with the solution
    • - project objectives
  • Summary Work Breakdown Structure
  • Summary Project Master Schedule

This documentation serves as guidance for the development of Scope Statement as well as project initiation.

Scope Statement

The documentation and approval of project requirements/parameters is necessary before proceeding with subsequent phases of a project. This information provides a basis for making future decisions, accomplishing verification measures and evaluating changes to the scope.

Project definition is one of the most important processes of project management. This process assures that project work is structured and subdivided into manageable segments, that responsibility for accomplishment of each segment of work is assigned and that each work segment is adequately defined to facilitate communication and performance of work scope by project participants.

Utilization of the Work Breakdown Structure assures that all work is identified and defined within a common framework. It provides the means to subdivide the project into manageable segments and to describe the scope of work within each segment.

The documentation and approval of the scope baseline before proceeding with subsequent phases of a project should be a common practice. The scope baseline provides a basis for making future decisions, accomplishing verification measures and evaluating potential scope changes.

Work Authorization

The process of authorizing work is one of the keys to the ultimate success of a project. The process entails examining project scope definition, planning documents and subsequent contract documents in light of project objectives and assuring that they are mutually supportive prior to authorizing the commencement of work. Formal authorization of the commencement of work should be accomplished through directives and/or other documents and communicated to responsible performing organizations. An audit trail of all work authorizations from project initiation to completion of all authorized work should also be maintained. Documented work authorization provides a means for effective “internal” coordination, communication and obtaining required approvals.

Scope Reporting

The process of Scope Reporting entails the timely determination, recording and accumulation of project progress/status data and transformation of this data into structured information necessary to judge project performance. The processing, integration, summarization and display of this data can be displayed in various formats. This is necessary so that the data can be structured into information for review by various levels of authority, in order for them to judge continued attainment of project objectives.

Establishment of required reports, their frequency and report distribution should be accomplished early in the project.

Control Systems

Because of the dynamic nature of a project, the work often may not progress in accordance with the plan. Project control systems assure that all changes to the scope baseline are controlled in a structured manner. This prevents the baseline plan from becoming obsolete Changes to authorized work have to be identified, defined, communicated and coordinated before approval. Change approval has to be carried out by pre-determined responsible individual(s) having approval authority commensurate with the baseline(s) to be changed. Only then is direction given to those responsible to initiate work on the change.

Project Closeout

This process entails the use of historical records on similar past projects and the archiving of current project records during the “close-out” phase of a project for future use.

The review and utilization of historic records and lessons learned from completed projects can assist in managing the scope of current projects. This information/data can be used to predict trends, analyze feasibility and to highlight possible problem areas/pitfalls.

During a project’s “close-out” phase, a post project analysis should be undertaken involving all project participants, in order to evaluate the project and document the results. This analysis can include:

  • Cost, schedule and technical performance versus the original plan
  • Evaluation of scope changes and their impact on cost and schedule
  • Evaluation of how smooth, effective and timely, changes were carried out and whether they delayed or impacted work progress
  • Any special factors regarding quality of work
  • Evaluation of special circumstances, i.e., natural disasters, weather conditions, unique circumstances, that impacted the project and what was learned from the experience
  • Effectiveness of methods/procedures
  • Conclusions regarding the completed project
  • Recommendations regarding the completed project or future projects


The first step in effective Scope Management is the identification, definition and documentation of the project objectives as well as selecting the best approach to achieving the project objectives. The project work is then identified and defined to a common framework, the WBS.

The definition of project scope and associated planning documents are then reviewed for formal work authorization before commencement of work. Following authorization of work, baseline changes are controlled in a structured manner through a control system. Authorization is necessary before work is initiated on the change, thus providing a good audit trail of baseline changes.

As the project progresses, project process/status information is recorded, accumulated and transformed into structured information necessary to judge project performance The data is analyzed to determine the current status of the project, significant problem areas, developing trends and to forecast future status.

There should be no doubt now, that effective Scope Management has to be a major concern for any Project Manager in order to achieve project objectives.

Figure A-1 Function Chart Scope Management

Function Chart Scope Management
Function Impact Matrix Chart SCOPE MANAGEMENT

Figure A-2
Function Impact Matrix Chart SCOPE MANAGEMENT

Glossary Of Terms

Scope Management is the function of controlling a project in terms of its objectives through the concept, development, implementation and termination phases.

1. Conceptual Development is a process of choosing/documenting the best approach to achieving the project objectives.
1.a Problem/Need Statement/Goal: To define the problem; to document the need to find a solution; and to document the overall aim of the sponsor.
1.b Information Gathering: Researching, organizing, recording and comprehending pertinent information/data.
1.c Constraints: Applicable restrictions which will affect the scope.
1.d Alternative Analysis: Breaking down a complex scope situation for the purpose of generating and evaluating different solutions and approaches.
l.e Project Objectives: Project scope expressed in terms of outputs, required resources and timing.
2. Scope Statement is a documented description of the project as to its output, approach and content.
Scope: The work content and products of a project or component of a project. Scope is fully described by naming all activities performed, the resources consumed, and the end products which result, including quality standards.
2.a Scope Criteria: Standards or rules composed of parameters to be considered in defining the project.
2.a.1 Scope Cost: Basic budgetary constraints.
2.a.2 Scope Schedule: Basic time constraints.
2.a.3 Scope Performance/Quality: Basic objective of the project. Defines the characteristics of the project’s end product as required by the sponsor.
2.a.4 Scope Interfaces: Points of interaction between the project or its components and its/their respective environments.
2.b Management Plan: Document that describes the overall quidelines within which a project is organized, administered and managed to assure the timely accomplishment of project objectives.
2.b.1 Organization Structure: Identification of participants and their hierarchical relationships.
2.b.2 Job Descriptions: Documentation of a project participant’s job title, supervisor, job summary, responsibilities, authority and any additional job factors.
2.b.3 Policies/Procedures: General guidelines/formalized methodologies on how a project will be managed.
2.b.4 Accountability/Responsibility Matrix: Structure which relates the Project Organization Structure to the Work Breakdown Structure; assures that each element of the project scope of work is assigned to a responsible individual.
2.c Work Breakdown Structure: A task-oriented “family tree” of activities which organizes, defines and graphically displays the total work to be accomplished in order to achieve the final objectives of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project objectives. It is a system for subdividing a project into manageable work packages, components or elements to provide a common framework for Scope/Cost/Schedule communications, allocation of responsibility monitoring and management.
2.d Scope Baseline: Summary description of the project’s or components’ original content and end product including basic budgetary and time constraint data.
2.e Scope Baseline Approval: Approval of the Scope Baseline by the appropriate authority (project sponsors and senior project management staff).
3. Work Authorization is a process of sanctioning all project work.
3.a Work Packages/Control Point: WBS elements of the project isolated for assignment to “work centers” for accomplishment. Production control is established at this element level.
3.b Contracts: Binding agreements to acquire goods and/or services in support of a project.
3.b.1 Study: The methodical examination and/or analysis of a question or problem.
3.b.2 Design: The creation of final approach for executing the project’s work.
3.b.3 Equipment Procurement: The acquisition of equipment/material to be incorporated into the project.
4. Scope Reporting: is a process of periodically documenting the status of basic project parameters during the course of a project.
4.a Cost Status: As affecting financial status.
4.b Schedule Status: As affecting time constraint status.
4.c Technical Performance Status: As affecting quality.
4.d Integrated Project Progress Reports: Documentation that measures “budget” vs. actual (cost/schedule) by utilizing BCWP, BCWS, ACWP.
4.d.1 S Curves: Graphical display of the accumulated costs and labour hours or quantities, plotted against time for both budgeted and actual amounts.
4.d.2 Earned Value: A method of reporting project status in terms of both cost and time. It is the budgeted value of work performed regardless of the actual cost incurred.
4.e Variance Reports: Documentation of project performance about a planned or measured performance parameter.
4.f Trend Reports: Indicators of variations of project control parameters against planned objectives.
4.g Exception Reports: Documentation that focuses its attention on variations of key control parameters that are critical rather than on those that are progressing as planned.
5. Control System is a mechanism which reacts to the current project status in order to ensure accomplishment of project objectives.
5.a Configuration (Baseline) Control: A system of procedures that monitors emerging project scope against the scope baseline. Requires documentation and management approval on any change to the baseline.
5.b Design Control: A system for monitoring project scope, schedule and cost during the project’s design stage.
5.b.1 Work Plan: “Designer’s” schedule plan, budget and monitoring system utilized during the design stage.
5.b.2 Trend Monitoring: A system for tracking the estimated cost/schedule/resources of the project vs. those planned.
5.c Document Control: A system for controlling and executing project documentation in a uniform and orderly fashion.
5.d Acquisition Control: A system for acquiring project equipment, material and services in a uniform and orderly fashion.
5.e Specification Control: A system for assuring that project specifications are prepared in a uniform fashion and only changed with proper authorization.
6. Project Closeout is a process that provides for acceptance of the project by the project sponsor, completion of various project records, final revision and issue of documentation to reflect the “as-built” condition and the retention of essential project documentation.
6.a Historical Records: Project documentation that can be used to predict trends, analyze feasibility and highlight problem areas/pitfalls on similar future projects.
6.b Post Project Analysis and Report: A formal anaylsis and documentation of the project’s results including cost, schedule and technical performance versus the original plan.
6.c Financial Closeout: Accounting analysis of how funds were spent on the project. Signifies a point in time when no further charges should be made “against” the project.


1. Adams, J.R. & Kirchof, N.S. A Decade of Project Management. Drexel Hill, PA: Project Management Institute, 1981.

2. Adams, J.R. & Campbell, B. Roles and Responsibilities of the Project Manager. Drexel Hill, PA: Project Management Institute, 1982.

3. Barlow, K.J. Effective Management of Engineering Design. ASCE Chicago, April 1981, Keynote Address.

4. Burstein, D. & Stasiowski, F. Project Management for the Design Professional. NY: Whitney Library of Design, 1982

5. Cable D. & Adams, J.R. Organizing for Project Management. Drexel Hill, PA: Project Management Institute, 1982.

6. Cleland, D.I. & King, W.R. Project Management Handbook. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983.

7. Kerzner, H. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979

8. Niagara Mohawk. Project Planning and Control Procedures. Syracuse, NY: Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, 1983.

9. Rosenau, M.D. Successful Project Management. Belmont, CA: Lifetime Learning Publications, 1981.

10. Stuckenbruck, L.C. The Implementation of Project Management: The Professionals Handbook. Addison-Wesley, 1981.

11. Wideman, R.M. ESA and All That. Project Management Journal, March 1985, XVI. 34-42.

12. _____. Proceedings of the Annual Seminar/Symposiums. Drexel Hill, PA: The Project Management Institute.

13. _____. Project Management Journal (Quarterly), Drexel Hill, PA: The Project Management Institute.

14. _____. Scope Management. Special Report, Project Management Quarterly, 1983 31.32.

THE PM NETWORK August, 1987



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