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This chapter is from the book

Scope Management

Scope management is the set of processes that ensures that the requirements of the customer are captured in a specification of work that ensures its delivery, that all the project work is done, and that only the work required to complete the project is done. In other words, scope management makes sure that the project is completed without expending any unnecessary effort.

Scope planning defines the document that states how the scope will be specified, controlled, and verified. The project team develops the scope management plan for each project. More complex projects require a more detailed scope planning process. Table 3.2 shows the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs for the scope planning process.

Table 3.2 Scope Planning Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs


Tools and Techniques


Enterprise environmental factors

Expert judgment

Project scope management plan

Organizations process assets

Templates, forms, and standards


Preliminary project scope statement



Project management plan



The next process, scope definition, is the process that refines the preliminary scope statement and clearly states what the project will and will not accomplish. The supporting documents are reviewed to ensure the project will satisfy the stated goals and the resulting scope should state the stakeholders’ needs and clearly communicate the expectations for the performance of the project. Table 3.3 shows the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs for the scope planning process.

Table 3.3 Scope Definition Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs


Tools and Techniques


Organizational process assets

Product analysis

Project scope statement

Project charter

Alternative identification

Requested changes

Preliminary project scope statement

Expert judgment

Project scope management plan (updates)

Project scope management plan

Stakeholder analysis


Approved change requests



Work Breakdown Structure: A Common and Dangerous Omission

Many inexperienced project managers move too quickly from the scope statement to the activity sequencing processes. This practice is a mistake and often leads to activity omissions and inaccurate plans. PMI stresses the importance of first creating a work breakdown structure (WBS), and then moving to activity management processes.

The WBS provides the project manager and project team with the opportunity to decompose the high-level scope statement into much smaller, more manageable units of work, called work packages. The resulting WBS should provide a complete list of all work packages required to complete the project (and nothing more). Table 3.4 shows the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs for the create WBS process.

Table 3.4 Create WBS Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs


Tools and Techniques


Organizational process assets

Work breakdown structure templates

Project scope statement (updates)

Project scope statement


Work breakdown structure

Project scope management plan


WBS dictionary

Approved change requests


Scope baseline



Project scope management plan (updates)



Requested changes

In creating the WBS, the project team repeatedly decomposes the work of the project into smaller and smaller units of work, resulting in a collection of small work packages. The process continues until the resulting work packages are simple enough to reliably estimate in terms of duration and required resources. Don’t go overboard, though. When you have work packages that are manageable and represent a single work effort, stop the process. Each project is different, so this process results in different levels of detail for each project.

The last main feature of the WBS is that it is organized in a hierarchical fashion. The highest level is the project. Under the project, the children that represent project phases, divisions, or main deliverables are listed. Each child process or task is then divided into further levels of detail until the lowest level, the work package, is reached. Figure 3.2 depicts a sample WBS with multiple levels.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 Sample work breakdown structure.

In addition to the WBS itself, another output of the create WBS process is the WBS dictionary. The WBS dictionary is a document that supports the WBS by providing detailed information for each work package. The WBS dictionary can contain many types of information, including

  • Work package name or identifier

  • Accounting control account

  • Description of work

  • Technical specifications

  • Quality requirements

  • Owner or responsible party assignment

  • Required resources

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