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Defining the scope of a project

Defining the scope of a project means defining its boundaries i.e. what will be covered and what will not. For example, when organising the company event there was a clear scope for the project:

The scope of this project is to organise the annual company meeting event, including defining the programme, inviting participants and presenters, defining the schedule for the day, booking the venue and the catering service, and managing the event.

Defining the scope of a project is important because:

  • it helps in the initial discussion when gaining agreement on what will and will not be done by the project team which facilitates the planning phase
  • it helps to reduce or avoid ‘scope creep’.

You heard about scope creep in Challenges of project management. Scope creep can be defined as: ‘adding features and functionality without addressing the effects on time, costs and resources or within customer approval’ (PMI, 2004). To reduce the risk of a scope creep it is important to clearly define the objectives of the project, and consider the requests from all the relevant stakeholders of the project since the initiation of your project.

During this course you are invited to put these project management techniques into practice. First, you’ll need to think of a project you would like to accomplish. The project may be related to your work (e.g. an advertising campaign to promote your new products, or a disaster response/business continuity plan to use in case normal operation is disrupted) or to your personal life (e.g. an adventurous trip, a wedding, or birthday party for a relative). It’s advisable though to use a simple project rather than the organisation of the next Olympic Games!

Spend a few minutes thinking about the scope of your project. Now, write a short paragraph to describe the scope of your project. You could share it in the comments if you wish.

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Fundamentals: Project Management

The Open University