What is the Project Scope?

Let’s solidify our understanding of what the project scope is. The scope of a project encapsulates all of its objectives, requirements, and work boundaries. It’s essentially the “guide” of the project that everyone—team members, stakeholders, and the project manager—adheres to. Project scope management, then, is the process of establishing what a project will accomplish, ensuring it is on track, and controlling changes to the intended goals. This is a dynamic process, as the scope can evolve with stakeholder needs and market conditions. The key is to manage these changes methodically without derailing the project’s original purpose.

What is Product Scope?

Product scope describes the product to be delivered, that is, “What does the customer want you to produce with the project?” The deliverables are products such as a new system, a new car, a new process, etc. Completion of the product is measured against product requirements that define the features or functions of the product.

What is Project Scope Management?

Essentially, project scope management begins with understanding the project requirements, developing a detailed project scope statement, and ensuring that all the tasks are carried out within the agreed-upon boundaries. Transitioning further, it involves monitoring the status of the project and managing any changes to the scope. This strategic process helps prevent scope creep, manage stakeholder expectations, and ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet the predefined quality standards.

What is Project Scope Statement?

Project Scope Statement is an integral element of project scope management. The Project Scope Statement provides a detailed description of the project’s objectives, the deliverables, the work required to create those deliverables, and the project’s final acceptance criteria. It serves as a guiding beacon for the project team, setting clear expectations and providing a roadmap to success.

What is Scope Creep?

Scope Creep refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope, often occurring when the project isn’t accurately defined, documented, or controlled. Essentially, scope creep is the addition of new features, functions, or requirements to projects without adjustments to time, cost, and resources. This can lead to projects overrunning their budgets, missing deadlines, and in extreme cases, even complete failure.

Benefits of Defining the Project Scope


First and foremost, defining the project scope provides a clear roadmap for the project. It allows the team to remain focused on critical tasks, minimizing the chances of scope creep and ensuring that resources are used efficiently.


A well-defined project scope ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page. It outlines the project’s objectives and deliverables, ensuring that everyone understands the project’s direction and what is expected.


By defining the project scope, potential risks and challenges can be identified early, allowing for proactive risk mitigation strategies to be put in place.


A well-articulated project scope enables effective resource allocation. It ensures that the project team knows exactly what is required, allowing them to allocate time, budget, and manpower appropriately.

Steps to Define the Project Scope

1. Understand the Project Objectives:

To start with, it’s crucial to comprehend the project’s purpose and goals. This involves discussing with stakeholders, understanding their expectations, and defining the project objectives.

2. Identify the Project Requirements:

Once the project’s objectives are clear, it’s time to outline the specific requirements or tasks that need to be completed to achieve these objectives. This includes everything from defining resource needs to setting timelines.

3. Define the Project Boundaries:

Clearly identifying what is and isn’t included in the project is an essential step. This helps in setting realistic expectations and avoiding scope creep.

4. Develop a Detailed Project Scope Statement:

Following the identification of the project boundaries, it’s necessary to develop a comprehensive project scope statement. This document should clearly define the project objectives, deliverables, milestones, tasks, and deadlines.

5. Get Stakeholder Approval:

After drafting the project scope statement, it’s essential to get approval from all stakeholders. This ensures everyone is on the same page about the project’s objectives and scope.

6. Review and Refine the Project Scope:

Finally, the project scope should be reviewed and refined continuously throughout the project. This ensures that it remains accurate and relevant, accommodating any necessary changes or adjustments.

project scope management

Project Scope Examples:

Project scope describes the work required to produce the project deliverables. The deliverables can be meetings, reports, analysis, design documents, etc., and all the parts of project management that become part of the scope of the project plan. Completion is measured against the project scope management plan which is a subsidiary of the project management plan.

Example 1: Construction of a School Building:

The client comes and asks you to construct a school building for him. He gave you his requirements like what would be the size of the school building, how many rooms it will have, the size of the playground, the number of toilets, the color of the painting, when he needs it, etc. You take the project and start working on it. You make the plan, create the schedule, and estimate the budget. Subsequently, you move on to the execution part. You bring workers to the site and start constructing the school building. You complete the project and verify with a client that the school building is as per his requirements.

Then you hand over the school building to the client, get the payment, and the project is closed. In the above example, there are two parts:

  • The client asks the project manager to make a school building for him and gives him his requirements (characteristics). This is the Product Scope.
  • You plan to construct the school building within the given time, and budget, meeting all the client’s requirements. This is the Project Scope.

Example 2: Developing a Mobile Application:

For instance, consider the project scope for developing a new mobile application. The scope might include user interface and experience design, coding for various platforms (like Android or iOS), backend server development, and security measures. It would also specify the exclusion of certain features, such as a desktop version or integration with third-party apps, to manage stakeholder expectations.

Example 3: Construction Project for a Residential Skyscraper:

The scope would clearly define tasks including site clearance, laying of foundation, construction of floors, installation of elevators, and interior design. However, it might explicitly exclude certain elements, such as furnishing the apartments or landscaping the surrounding area, which could fall under the responsibility of other teams or projects.

In the above examples, the project scope delineates the boundaries of what will and will not be delivered, providing clarity for project team members and stakeholders alike, and forming a pivotal part of effective project scope management.

The Power of Flexibility: Online Learning for Mastering Project Management.

In an increasingly digital world, gaining a comprehensive understanding of project scope through accredited online courses has never been more accessible. AIMS’ online project management certifications offer in-depth insight into project management, equipping professionals with tools to define, manage, and control the project efficiently. Similarly, an online diploma in project management provides a solid foundation for mastering the fundamentals of project management. For those seeking a higher level of expertise, an online MBA in project management or a Project Management PhD offer advanced research on project management. The flexibility of online learning means that obtaining a project management qualification from the UK is now at your fingertips.

project scope

Project Scope Template

The Project Scope Template is a crucial tool for defining and organizing the total amount of work required to complete a project. A well-structured and comprehensive Project Scope Template is key to successful project scope management. It provides a roadmap for the project, reduces miscommunication, and keeps everyone focused on the agreed-upon goals and outcomes. This document can be broken down into several sections:

  • Project Overview: This section provides a high-level summary of the project, its objectives, and the anticipated benefits.
  • Project Deliverables: Next, we detail the specific products, services, or results that the project will produce.
  • Project Exclusions: Here, we delineate what is not included in the project, managing stakeholder expectations and avoiding scope creep.
  • Project Constraints: Now, we outline any limitations or restrictions that may impact the project deliverables or execution.
  • Project Assumptions: In this section, we list any assumed factors that have been considered during the planning of the project.
  • Project Risks: Subsequently, we identify potential risks associated with the project and propose mitigating strategies.
  • Project Approvals: Finally, we detail the individuals or groups responsible for approving changes to the project scope.
what is project scope

Project Scope Management Processes:

Collect Requirements is the first process in the Project Scope Management Knowledge Area. The purpose of defining the scope of a project is to describe and control what is and what is not the work of the project. This is the first process where we get into the meat of the Planning processes and get down to defining what the final product or service of the project looks like—thus we’re starting off defining what is included in the work of the project.

1. Inputs for Project Scope Management:

To embark on the journey of effective project scope management, certain essential inputs must be incorporated into the process.


This forms the backbone of the project, providing a preliminary overview of the project’s objectives and deliverables, the stakeholders involved, and an initial risk assessment.


A comprehensive list of requirements provides a detailed insight into what the stakeholders expect from the project. This encompasses functional, technical, and business requirements that the project must fulfill.


These include any process-related assets that may influence the project’s development. Examples may include templates, lessons learned from previous projects, and company policies.


The plan outlines the approach for managing the project and can play a key role in defining the project scope.


Factors such as organizational culture, market conditions, and legislative implications can directly impact how the project scope is managed.


A complete list of stakeholders, their roles, and their influence over the project can help in effectively managing the scope.

2. Project Scope Management Tools and Techniques:

To execute the project scope management process seamlessly, a set of effective tools and techniques can be harnessed.


Leverage the experience and skills of professionals who have a deep understanding of the project scope management process. Their insights can contribute to the effective management of project scope.


Utilize techniques such as document analysis, alternative analysis, and trend analysis. These techniques can help in understanding the project requirements, evaluating alternatives, and predicting future trends.


Techniques like multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) can aid in making informed decisions about the project scope.


Tools such as affinity diagrams, mind maps, and flow charts can help visualize the project scope, making it easier to understand and manage.


Skills like conflict management, negotiation, and influencing can help manage the project scope by effectively dealing with stakeholders and resource constraints.


Regular project meetings provide a platform for open communication, brainstorming, and problem-solving, thereby facilitating effective scope management.

3. Outputs of Project Scope Management Processes

By refining these outputs, project managers can maintain control over the scope, ensuring that the project stays on track and achieves its intended goals.


This is a detailed description of the project and product. It serves as a guide, delineating the boundaries of the project and establishing the responsibilities of each team member.


This is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.


Supporting the WBS, the dictionary provides detailed information about each component in the WBS, including task descriptions, deliverables, dependencies, and any other details needed to clarify each element.


This is a combination of the project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary. It serves as a reference point, measuring the project’s progress and managing its scope.


These are the tangible or intangible goods or services produced as a result of the project that is expected to be delivered to a customer (either internal or external).


All documents related to project scope management are collated and maintained for future reference, audits, and lessons learned.


They are borne out of the need to alter the scope baseline. These can stem from shifts in project objectives, unanticipated technical challenges, or stakeholder feedback. Change requests undergo change control and, if approved, modify the project scope and other project plans.


Understanding the essence of project scope and mastering project scope management steps are pivotal for effective project execution. Creating a comprehensive project scope statement forms the foundation upon which the entire project is built, outlining the project goals, the work breakdown structure (WBS), and the project budget. Furthermore, diligently managing scope, including the vigilant control process, is key to avoid scope creep and ensuring that the project aligns with its original objectives. Harnessing the power of project management scope assists in driving successful outcomes, and keeping the project within the agreed-upon boundaries.