Now that we’ve removed “accidental project manager” from our vocabulary (see 5 Steps to Stop Accidental Project Management), let’s start getting deliberate about how our departmental project leaders get their projects done. One of the first skills they need is the ability to define scope. Scope is defined as the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with or to which it is relevant.
In other words, Scope is:
- What needs to get done,
- How we’ll know when it’s done,
- What boundaries we can’t go outside of, and
- What won’t get done.
Let’s use a kitchen as an example. It’s time to move away from avocado green countertops and paneling on the walls. You meet with various contractors to see who could do the work, letting them know what needs to get done. Below is a simple format to follow, whether it’s a kitchen remodel or a project being managed by a departmental project leader.
That’s it. This handful of sections identifies what the project is, what’s included, what’s not included, and any boundaries the project needs to stay within.
What if you change your mind? What if you decide that your grandmother’s light has got to go after all? No problem. Just make sure there’s something that documents that the original scope changed with what’s called a Change Request. It removes all ambiguity and shows that everyone understands and agrees with the change.
The goal of thinking through these Sections is for that exact purpose… to think through scope. This is not designed to become an administrative burden or non-value add paperwork, but, rather, to help those whose main job is not being a project manager to act like one when they need to!
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