Project scope is the agreed upon expectations and limits of a project.
How do you scope a project?
A project is scoped by outlining the work that will be accomplished into items with clear expectations. Define the project goals, and identify how these goals will be achieved.
Don’t be too specific. You aren’t making step by step instructions.
Also, don’t be too broad. This process is about planning for success and removing the mystery from expectations.
The purpose of this outline is to have a plan of action. A strategy that will keep you focused on the path to success. If it is a path, it might as well be a track. Don’t get off the track.
Stay in scope
Now that you have a plan of action, follow it. If you planned correctly, then your plan is the shortest path to achieving your project goals. Accomplish this plan before deviating.
Here is a quick way to evaluate if tasks are in scope:
Is the task able to be put into one of your defined project items?
If YES, that task is in scope.
If NO, then that task is not part of your plan to success.
Anything outside the plan is off the path to achieving your goals, and that is scope creep.
Anything outside your plan is scope creep. The emergence of extra tasks can ruin the success of a project, the timeline, budgets, and relationships.
Learn to spot scope creep early. Once identified, bring excessive requests into your project discussions and address that it is out of scope. Next you must determine if the excessive request is necessary to achieve the project goals. If yes, then you must re-scope.
Common signs of scope creep:
- Any type of Favor or extra task
- Unplanned tasks which must be accomplished before the projects proceeds any further
- A vague project item which acts as a catch-all for unexpected tasks
- Extra tasks due to negligence or inability
Don’t confuse a poorly organized plan for scope creep. Sloppy planning will always have unexpected and emerging tasks.