Project Management

Scope Management in Today’s World

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When I first started managing projects, scope was one of the first things that was defined. It was the single most important factor of the project that everything else supported. But that’s not the case anymore. Today, what’s important is achieving the business outcome that the project investment is designed to deliver, and the scope—the specific deliverables that will enable those outcomes—is subject to significant change.

That change may be the result of shifting customer expectations, emerging technical capabilities, the actions of competitors or any number of other factors. But the bottom line is that projects frequently start without knowing all of the features that have to be delivered. And that’s perfectly fine, In fact, it’s the only way to achieve the aggressive timelines projects have to deliver against.

But it does mean that scope management has to be handled very well. And that doesn’t always happen, especially in traditional project environments that lack the formal role of a product owner and a prioritized backlog. Let’s look at the various elements that make up modern scope management with a particular focus on traditional projects.

The need for active management
The process of defining scope is really about ensuring that what is delivered by a project is what is actually needed. In today’s world, …

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