Scope It

Pat Yount
Argh! The dreaded scope statement. If you are like many project managers, getting a comprehensive scope statement formulated and agreed to by all team members can be an exercise in patience and perseverance. If you begin with the end in mind, you can build a comprehensive scope statement and--along the way--build consensus among the project team members.

Why bother?
The scope statement is a critical component to the application selection process. It is the foundation of all other steps and helps vendors quickly determine if their product can possibly meet your company's needs, so it saves time fir both your project team and the vendor. The scope statement is like a box: Either the product fits within its boundaries or it doesn't.

The steps
First, meet with the team and agree on a deadline to complete the scope statement. Then, start the scope statement with a description of the situation that triggered the product selection. This could be that an existing product no longer functions as required or the company has grown and manual processes now require automation. Use this as the first cut for the scope statement.  

So what is the key to building strong scope statements? Help the team visualize the system when it is implemented, determining:

  1. Critical functions required
  2. Inputs to the application
  3. Outputs from the system
  4. Integration requirements

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