Principles of project scope management

The five project scope management process groups ensure that only the agreed work is done. Doing unnecessary work in the project is sometimes called 'gold plating' and creates waste and unnecessary risk. The project manager's role is therefore to monitor and check that there is no scope creep or gold plating by team members or stakeholders. The priority for the project manager is to complete just the specified work as stated in the project charter and project scope statement. If an additional requirement to the project's scope is considered essential, an authorized and approved change is the only way to get further work added to the project scope statement. Stakeholders may use the 'requested change' route to incorporate an element within the specification that was not included during the initial development of the project scope statement. The project manager must be mindful of any hidden agendas giving rise to the possibility of increasing the project's scope via the back door, so you must consider this when dealing with a request change. If this process is not used, there is no justification to complete the extra work being proposed.

Key idea

Avoid gold plating

Gold plating is an expression that means doing more than the scope requires. Sometimes people think that delivering extra or delivering higher quality than was specified is a good thing. But gold plating creates risk and cost beyond what was agreed and this is waste. Concentrate instead on delivering what was agreed. That is hard enough in real life. If you want to impress by over-delivering, then instead of gold plating deliver either early or under budget.


Scope management is also used to cover the work involved in managing both product and project scope. These two terms are defined as follows:

  • Product scope is measured against the product requirements, and used to describe the product's features and functions.

  • Project scope is measured against the project management plan, project scope statement and WBS, and used to specify the work required to deliver a product or service with the stated features and functions.

The point of project scope management is to make sure that only the work required to deliver a successful project is completed, that is processes and knowledge areas, to meet the project's objectives. The individual processes (and the process groups to which they belong) within project scope management are:

  • Scope planning (Planning).

  • Scope definition (Planning).

  • Create WBS (Planning).

  • Scope verification (Monitoring and Controlling).

  • Scope control (Monitoring and Controlling).

and Figure 5.1 shows how these fit together.

Figure 5.1. Project scope management sequence of processes and activities


The initial question to ask is how to go about defining and managing the project's scope, therefore the first task is to conduct scope planning. The work involved in scope planning produces the project scope management plan, which will answer the initial question of how to define and manage scope. The first edition of the scope management plan is not fixed in stone, because the plan can be adjusted and modified to incorporate further issues identified and evaluated later during the planning process group. The next stage in scope management is to expand the detail contained in the preliminary project scope statement in order to generate the agreed project scope statement. Once scope definition has been completed, the project team's main effort is to create a WBS and WBS dictionary from the specified deliverables to break down the work into work packages. A series of inspections and reviews must be undertaken to determine the level of completed work, and then to confirm that the deliverables meet the requirements and objectives stated in the project plans. The final step is to get formal acceptance from the customer for the completed deliverables.

The process in project scope management that covers much of the Monitoring and Controlling process group is scope control. This element of the project management is vital to ensure the specifications listed are met, but not extended. The change control system, as part of scope control, is a documented procedure that defines how the deliverables and documentation are controlled and approved. The trigger for much of the proposed change is caused by the variance of scope performance versus the scope baseline, and the variance data are produced from the project's work performance information. Scope control is therefore used to recommend what corrective and preventive actions are required, and then to update and revise the documents affected by the change.

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Definitive Guide to Project Management. The Fast Track to Getting the Job Done on Time and on Budget
The Definitive Guide to Project Management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0273710974
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 217
Authors: Sebastian Nokes
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