Despite our best efforts, the majority of large scale projects finish over budget, out of scope, and past deadlines, that is if they are completed at all.  Actually, 70 percent of business projects fail in some important way.

One reason projects fail, 35 percent of all projects, is due to either a poorly defined scope or worse yet, an unmanaged project scope.

Whether you manage an enterprise developing a new IT application budgeted for $2,322,000 or a small company with an average budget per project of $434,000, an unmanaged scope can make a significant impact on the project budget.  Project mismanagement accounts for an average of $122 million of project waste for every $1 billion invested in project delivery.

A project scope assists the project manager in defining the business problem the project is addressing, as well as setting preliminary project boundaries.  A key document used by project managers in scope definition is the projects business case, this lists the issues, recommendations, justification, goals and recommendations for the project.  Once the scope is clearly defined, and depending on the project methodology, the project manager tries to refrain from making changes to the scope due to the impact on the budget, time and possibly quality.

However, and at times, a scope change will be beneficial and practical to the project.  In order for the project manager to efficiently and adequately manage changes to the scope, a scope management plan is created.  The scope management plan should address several key issues:

  • Who has authority and responsibility for scope management
  • How the scope is defined
  • How the scope is measured and verified
  • The scope change process
  • Who is responsible for accepting the final project deliverable and approves acceptance of project scope

If a change in scope is requested, a change request would be submitted to the project manager who will then calculate the impact the scope change would have on the budget, time, and quality of the project.  If the project manager and sponsor agree with the change, the project manager will then forward the change request to the Change Control Board.  If the change is approved by the board, the project manager will then update all project documents and communicate the scope change to all project team members and stakeholders.