2.0 Project Scope Statement - The Problems
The reason why writing a Project Scope Statement is so problematic is because it is defined during initiation. At this stage the Project Manager is essentially working "Blind" as no-one will know exactly what the project will deliver. The Business Stakeholders might have an idea of the project scope at a high level, but certainly not at the detailed level, which is why a key skill any Project Manager must have, is the ability to effectively deal with
Project Management Scope
Now imagine you have been asked by the Business Sponsor to initiate a project to deliver a new company website. Okay you know that they want a new website,
and in fact the Business Sponsor may even know that they also require it to cope with loads of pages of content, an ecommerce shop and a user forum. Sounds easy right?
Well no. Let's take it a bit further. What exactly does "cope with loads of pages of content, an ecommerce shop and a user forum" actually mean in practice?
This is the first question any seasoned Project Manager asks themselves because at this stage it pays to asks questions, and still more questions until you get a clear idea in your head what exactly what will need to go into the project scope statement.
Of course it is also when the problems start, because you expect the Business Stakeholder to be able to explain to you exactly what it is that they want. The problem is few can and even then you quickly discover that they somehow expect you to be able to deliver a world class, cutting edge, state of the art, all singing and dancing website: for the cost of a MacDonalds Happy Meal!
Further problems lie in the fact that if the project has more than one Business Stakeholder, all of them will have completely different ideas on what they expect to be delivered. Often these will be completely contradictory and it will be up to you, the Project Manager to resolved it.
Lastly, if you think that project initiation is something which takes months, well it rarely does. Project Initiation usually occurs in 2-4 weeks. Therefore you somehow have to find a way to get your Project Scope Statement agreed and nailed down in this extremely limited period of time.
This is where having experience comes into play. A seasoned Project Manager will know when to push Stakeholders for answers, and when to simply assume what is required. This is a key skill to have. It means you don't waste the Business Stakeholder's time on insignificant pieces of functionality which take a few days to develop and test, instead focussing their minds on the big deliverables which will take months and a large percentage of the budget to deliver.
Project Scope Statement Problems - Tip
There are thankfully quite a number of things you can do as the Project Manager to reduce Project Scope Statement Problems. Key amongst these are:
- Emphasise throughout the Initiation Process to everyone ie your boss, the Business Stakeholders etc how tight
the timeframes, resources and budget are and that any Changes will cause the Project Status to go Red immediately.
- Raise any major scope disagreements as Risks immediately and the minute they become Issues escalate it upwards for resolution.
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