Scope Management

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Location:  PMKI > PMBoK Knowledge Areas > Scope Management. 
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This subject covers the work required to ensure the project/program includes all of the work needed, and only the work needed, to achieve its objectives and that the work is successfully delivered to the client.

Topics included in Scope Management:

- Scope management overview
- Collect and manage requirements
- Define and manage scope
- Create WBS & other Breakdown structures
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Cost estimating and management, including Earned Value

Scope management overview

Scope ManagementProject Scope Management describes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all of the work, and only the work, required to complete the project successfully. It is concerned with describing and controlling what is ‘in’, and what is ‘not in’ the work of the project. During the scope definition process, the project team work with key stakeholders to assess the detailed project requirements, constraints, and assumptions, based on the project charter, lessons learned from previous projects, and by the use of requirement-gathering techniques (e.g., planning sessions, brainstorming, focus groups), in order to establish the precise nature of the project deliverables.

The term scope can refer to:

  • Product scope: the features and functions that characterize the product service or result to be produced (the deliverables)
  • Project scope: the full scope of work required to be performed to deliver the product service or result in conformance with organizational policies.

The term ‘project scope’ is typically viewed as including the product scope.

Scope management is achieved by:

  • Planning how scope will be defined, validated and controlled.
  • Collecting requirements, to ensure all of the necessary requirements have been identified and delivered.
  • Defining the scope in sufficient detail to allow the efficient planning and execution of the work needed to deliver the scope.
  • Creating the WBS and other project breakdown structures to facilitate planning and managing the work.
  • Having agreements and systems in place to facilitate the validation of the scope by the client or customer. Successful scope validation means the customer has accepted the project deliverables.
  • Controlling the scope to minimize unnecessary change and to ensure all of the required scope is created and delivered to plan.  


Collect and manage requirements

Blg: Success and Stakeholders. When considering the relationship between success and stakeholders, one potential conclusion is that success is gifted to you by your stakeholders, but you have to earn the gift by delivering what they really require!

WP: Data Gathering & Brainstorming.  Gathering requirements needs a planned approach using a range of techniques.

WP: Defining Requirements. The factors to consider in developing a set of requirements.

WP: Ranking Requirements and Selecting Projects. The full list of requirements often needs to be limited an prioritized using techniques such as MoSCW. 

WP: Requirements Traceability Matrix. Requirements traceability is the process that facilitates the description of each requirement and sub-requirement and then ensures the requirement is fulfilled.

Requirements ManagementPMI's Requirements Management Practice Guide is available free of charge to PMI members, see: 


Define and manage scope

Scope ManagementFully defining scope and then ensuring the specified requirements are delivered is critically important to achieving project success.   There are a number of documents that may be used to define the project’s scope. 

  • Project scope: An overall statement of the work needed to be accomplished to achieve the delivery of the product, service or result (product scope); including objectives, constraints and other relevant items
  • Product scope: The features and functions that characterize the product, service or result – the deliverables
  • Design documents: Documenting the project scope can be done in many different ways (depending on industry) including various forms of engineering or architectural design documents and/or drawings, BIM (see more on BIM), and various forms of IT architecture and data-flow diagrams. These are part of the scope definition process and may be prepared completely by the client, completely by the project team, or some elements by the client (eg, overall concepts) with the details being rounded out by the project team
  • Specification: The technical attributes (characteristics) of the product service or result described in a precise way and how they will be achieved or measured (verified)
  • Statement of work (SoW): A concise narrative description of a deliverable (usually included in a contract or purchase order)
    • Project Statement of Work – issued by the client to define the project
    • Procurement Statement of Work – issued by the project team as part of its procurement processes to define the product or service being purchased.

Art: Scope for Improvement Too. If a project’s client cannot ask for what it wants, the project team is highly unlikely to deliver what’s needed! Most projects have scope missed until its too late. This article is a discussion on a series of reports, also discussed in Causes of project failure.

Art: Ethics is not enough. Recent cladding fires demonstrate that achieving reliable quality standards needs more than simply relying on the ethical standards of everyone in the supply chain - the supply system needs to actively support ethical standards to ensure the defined scope is delivered.

WP: Statement of Work (SoW). Statement of Work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline the project (or a vendor) will execute against in performance of specified work for a client. The SOW typically forms part of a purchase order or contract but may be attached to a business case.

Configuration ManagementPMI's Practice Standard for Configuration Management is available free of charge to PMI members, see:

WP: V&V = the Verification and Validation of Deliverables. V&V should be a planned, on-going function that leads to the final acceptance of the project's deliverables by the client.

Systems Engineering: Is an approach that can assist in the design of the project's scope in complex situations. Systems engineering can be thought of as the principles and methods related to the successful engineering of systems, to meet stakeholder requirements and to maximize value. Systems engineering is problem-independent, and solution/technology-independent. See  WP: Systems Thinking

The project's scope baseline consists of the project scope statement, plus the WBS and WBS Dictionary.


Create WBS & other Breakdown structures

Scope ManagementWP: Work Breakdown Structures. Developing and using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

Other breakdown structures:

Art: Breakdown Structures Revisited. Details of some of the different types of Breakdown Structure in use today; RBS, OBS, CBS, PBS and others.

Art: PBS -v- WBS, is there a difference? The key differences between, and uses of, the Work Breakdown Structure and the Product Breakdown Structure.

WBS StandardPMI's Practice Standard for WBS is available free of charge to PMI members, see:  The third edition applies the WBS to the predictive, iterative, incremental, and agile project life cycles; it also explores several different types of decomposition in practice today.


Useful External Web-links & Resources

PMI Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures is available free of charge to PMI members:

Configuration Management: Processes to establish and maintain consistency of a product's performance, function and physical attributes with its requirements, design and operational information; throughout the products life. PMI's Practice Standard for Project Configuration Management is available free of charge to PMI members:


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