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What is Scope?

Most business analysts have created documents that contained a section called “Scope”. The scope is very important and can often be misused. The scope simply refers to the work that is required to fix a problem or solve an opportunity. I.e., create a process, project, solution, etc.

Are there different kinds of scope?
Yes, depending on the type of document you are producing, you may come across a number of different scope types.

The scope is the area covered by a particular activity or topic of interest.

Solution scope
solution scope is the set of capabilities a solution must deliver in order to meet the business need.
Here you would define the scope of the solution, not the project.

Project scope
Project scope are the features and function that characterize a product, service, or result.

How can I tell what the scope is?
A simple technique for figuring out what the scope of a project is to create a scope (context) diagram.
Start with drawing a circle in the middle of your page to represent your subject or project. Next, draw boxes and list all the areas that it interacts with.
Describe the relationships between each and describe the work required to complete each relationship.
The relationships and work needed to complete these relationships can make up the scope of your project.

Is there a way to use the scope to determine what work is required?
The BA or PM should be familiar with a technique called the WBS (Work breakdown structure). The WBS can be used to decompose the scope into individual tasks or activities that will help plan what is needed to complete a process or solution.

How do I know if I created a good scope statement?
A good element to any scope statement is if you can prove that your scope is SMART.
Specific – Describe a task or situation that has an observable outcome
Measurable – Must be able to track and measure the outcome
Achievable – Must be able to test the feasibility of the effort
Relevant – Must be in alignment with the organization’s vision, mission, goals, and needs
Time-bounded – The scope of the objective has a defined time frame that is consistent with the business need

Once you have defined your scope and have agreed upon the work that is required and the time frame in which it will be created in, you should try and minimize the changes that can often happen to any project. This is called scope creep. Scope creep happens when extra features get added (or removed) after the work and time have been agreed upon. A way to handle scope creep is with the use of a traceability or control matrix.

By Morgan

CBAP and PMI-ACP with over 20 years of Project management and Business Analysis experience.