How to Control Scope in a Project?

Project Management


The Control Scope is a process which is probably one of the most crucial in maintaining the scope baseline and changes the scope baseline whenever necessary. The project managers will mainly look to avoid the scope creep, which is a process where the scope is expanded in an uncontrolled manner.

Definition of Control Scope in a Project

Control Scope is the process of monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline. The Control Scope is a process which allows the scope baseline to be maintained throughout the lifecycle of the project.

The important components used to develop the Control Scope process are;

Control Scope – Inputs

  1. Project Management Plan

    The process of controlling scope involves many objectives that are to be met; the following criteria’s from the project management plan will help in managing scope.

    1. Scope Management Plan

      The process of monitoring and controlling the project scope is the key benefit of the scope management plan.

    2. Requirements Management Plan

      A process that is a part of the project management plan, which describes how the project requirements are analyzed, documented, and managed.

    3. Change Management Plan

      As the title suggests, the process of change management mainly concentrates on the changes that are taking place in the project during its lifecycle.

    4. Configuration Management Plan

      The process that is used to identify the components that require formal change control and implementing the process of control change to monitor the desired changes.

    5. Scope Baseline

      Scope baseline is the approved project scope and used during scope change management to determine and prevent scope creep. Scope baseline primarily comprises of the project scope statement, work breakdown structure, and WBS dictionary. Only upon implementing this scope baseline can the project be directed in the right direction.

    6. Performance Measurement Baseline

      During the process of using an earned value analysis, the performance measurement baseline is used to compare the actual results to determine if a change, corrective action or preventive action is necessary.

  2. Project Documents

    The list of project documents that can be considered as inputs for this process are –

    1. Lessons Learned Register

      To improve the scope control of the project, the lessons learned during the earlier stages of the project are accordingly applied or implemented in the project

    2. Requirements Documentation

      The project requirements should always be traced, tested, measured, complete, consistent, and importantly acceptable to the stakeholders. To ensure that this happens, the requirements should be well-documented to make it easier for the project manager to detect any deviation in the project.

    3. Requirements Traceability Matrix

      The Requirements Traceability Matrix is a tool that helps in detecting and identifying the impact of any changes that affect the project to deviate from the projected scope baseline and deliverables.

  3. Work Performance Data

    Work Performance Data is a method that documents the number of changes requests received, number of approved changes and also the number of project deliverables completed.

  4. Organizational Process Assets

    The Organizational Process Assets includes any particular policies and procedures that have been laid down by the performing organization regarding scope management. It also covers aspects like formal and informal scopes that exist in a company and also looks into the methods of monitoring and reporting.

Tools and Techniques of Control Scope in a Project

  1. Data Analysis

    The Data analysis techniques that can be used in the control scope process include –

    1. Variance Analysis

      Variance Analysis is a method that is used to determine the degree and cause of differences that occur between the project baseline and the actual performance happening during the execution stage. Only when the comparison is made, can the project manager analyze the performance of the project.

    2. Trend Analysis

      Trend analysis is the method used to examine a project’s performance from time-to-time to see whether the performance of the project is deteriorating or improving.

Control Scope – Outputs

  1. Work Performance Information

    The Work Performance Information documents information on how the project scope is actually performing when compared to the scope baseline. The cause for the scope variance and the results that the changes yield, everything is documented under the Work Performance Information. The entire process will provide a foundation for making scope decisions for the project.

  2. Change Requests

    Change requests to the scope baseline or other aspects of the project management plan usually arise when analyses are carried out on the scope performance. Change requests consist of preventive or corrective actions, defect repairs, or enhancement requests.

  3. Project Management Plan Updates

    Now and then, the project management plan needs to be updated. The main areas for updating are –

    1. Scope Management Plan

      The scope management plan will be updated to reflect any changes that occur in the project to show how the scope will be managed.

    2. Scope Baseline Updates

      Whenever the approved change requests affect the project scope, the scope statement, the WBS and the WBS dictionary are to be altered to meet the changes and are executed accordingly.

    3. Schedule Baseline

      Any changes to the schedule baseline are incorporated in response to the approved changes in scope, resources, or schedule estimates. In certain situations, a revised scheduled baseline is required to provide a realistic basis for performance measurements.

    4. Cost Baseline

      Cost baseline purpose is the same as schedule baseline. Whatever changes that occur are incorporated in response to the approved changes in scope, resources, or cost estimates. In certain situations, a revised cost baseline is required to provide a realistic basis for performance measurements.

    5. Performance Measurement Baseline

      Every change related to the performance measurement baseline are incorporated in response to approved changes in scope, schedule performance, or cost estimates. In some cases, a change request is put forth to revise the performance measurement baseline to provide a realistic basis for performance measurement.

  4. Project Documents Updates

    Some of the documents that may need to be updated are the requirements documentation and the requirements traceability matrix. The requirements documentation describes how a project’s requirements meet a business need. The matrix links the requirements to the need and helps trace its development throughout the project’s lifecycle. Ensuring that both documents are up to date helps manage and control changes to a project’s scope.

    1. Lessons Learned Register

      The lessons learned register could be updated with techniques that are efficient and effective in controlling scope, including causes of differences and chosen corrective actions for the completion of the project.

    2. Requirements Documentation

      The requirements documentation is mainly used to be updated with additional or changed requirements.

    3. Requirements Traceability Matrix

      The primary purpose of requirements traceability matrix is that it has to be updated to reflect updates in requirement documentation.

The importance of control scope is that it documents the changes and the stakeholders will be informed about it. Other management plans such as the scope management plan will also be affected by the project management activity provides feedback on how the project manager will implement the approved changes. As a result, this will also give a significant impact on the entire project lifecycle. This process will also necessitate the need to update the project documents, requirement documents, and the traceability matrix.

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