Project Scope Management

Project Scope Management | | Alternative name | Description | | Discussion | ‍‍‍‍ | Agile Manifesto principles | Other agile principles or practices | | Links to PMO knowledge areas (KAs) | | References | External link

Alternative name

Project Requirements Management.


Project scope is the expectation that customers’ requirement are met when the product is completed (Gardiner 2005). The processes, policies, and methodologies applied to ensure that the work requirements satisfy the end users expectation is known as project scope management (PMBoK 2008). The project cannot be said to be successful, if the expectation of the client is not achieved. Hence, the effective implementation of the project scope management (PSM) processes ensuring successful projects. The PSM as component of Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK 2008) is sub-divided into:
  • Project Initiation is preliminary investigation of business needs of the project.
  • Scope Planning is developing summary of constituent element of activities that most be implemented to satisfy the identified business needs of clients.
  • Scope Definition is the process of stating an elaborate overview of work packages on the already prepared work breakdown structure.
  • Scope Verification is the validation and feedback process of the scope planning and definition based on the accomplished work.
  • Scope Change control is the threshold to check against scope creep that result to project failure.
These components are used iteratively with constant fed back in a loop format throughout the project life cycle.


A main difference between agile and traditional approaches in project scope management is that traditionally change is considered as an obstacle and traditional change management is used to combat changes in scope, whereas with the agile approach change is expected and an agile change management facilitates it.

The traditional approach toward project scope management consists of project managers assigning tasks to individual teams and members which only receive feedback at the end of release or project, whereas the agile approach involves members working directly with the client on what they are required to do and they receive frequent feedback, even when products are under development, allowing corrective actions to be carried out in time.


Agile Manifesto principles

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Project Scope Management principles fits in to this because in scope management the project focuses on the customer to make sure value is delivered. Processes are put in place to ensure all the work necessary to deliver are delivered early and value is also delivered. Scope makes sure it controls what is and what is not in the scope are managed well. Scope makes sure the set of deliverables required by the customer is focused on which was gotten from requirement gathering. Scope has a continuous plan to deliver valuable output throughout the lifecycle of the project. Included in this is also the identification of work that will not be counted in the ongoing round of the service/product development.

    Project Scope management has 3 processes that are focused more on the customers need e.g. planning, which procedure happens when the project outputs are produced and the work that is to be captured and explained also the work that needs to be concluded. When it comes to controlling and monitoring processes these are focused around scope creep, document tracking, the accepting or non-acceptance of project changes. On the final stage, the closing comprises of an audit of the project deliverables and it also assesses the results alongside what was the original plan from the customers’ requirements before the project started.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.Scope management welcomes change at most stages of a project and has a good control.Managing change is a critical aspect of it so the project can be successful. Change in scope can have a significant impact on cost, schedule, risk and quality of the whole project. Even late in the project because scope is defined at the starting stage of the project which is the planning and cost estimation stage. There are reasons for change later in the project lifecycle. Stakeholders might want something to be added because scope has a good change management system put in place throughout the life cycle of the project it is able to accept, process and implement change as long as it does not have a negative effect on the project.Change in scope once is clear and understood, the process by which is valuated regardless if it’s financially acceptable it is straightforward. In scope management the key is to look at it incrementally from two main perspectives which is cost and schedule. Scope change most times requires some extra spending.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Delivering scope on time is an important part of the project as stakeholder / customers do appreciate this to a large scale. Planning and having a clear scope of the project is another aspect that is vital to delivery of scope frequently. Scope helps to plan for the uncertainties that can delay project. Good scope plan helps to execute the project at a good pace throughout the lifecycle which helps to keep the project on track and on target.
    Having a team that is skilled is the key for any successful project delivery. Putting the right people in the right place in a project from the start of the project regardless of the cost saves the project a lot of problems and risk involved.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. This agile principle relates to scope management in that customers/business people and developers work together on defining scope of the project. When both parties work together on daily basis they will ensure that only the work required for successful completion of the product are done. Working together daily also saves time because the developer does not need to spend time waiting for feedback from the customer and amendment can be done immediately. Scope creep can also be prevented because if changes need to be made to scope it will be made in a timely and controlled way. Working together daily means both parties will be able to ensure that a satisfactory product that meets all requirement is produced. Issues are highlighted and resolved on time and monitoring can be done throughout the project. In Agile, scope and direction of product or project is constantly monitored and this means that they can change at any time to meet changing needs and demand working together daily will make implementing the changes easy.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.This principle can be applied to scope management in that when the scope of a project is being developed activities and tasks can be planned around motivated individuals who have the best ability for the role. Once responsibilities are assigned to individuals what they need is the environment and support to carry out their roles. Good working environment, management support and trust in people’s ability by not micro managing them are important factors that can stimulate the desire and motivate people to archive in a team
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.This principle can be applied to scope management knowledge area because face to face conversation is an important means of communication which if applied to scope management will help with quick clarification of requirements and asking for feedback from stakeholders. One of the features of Agile is to have daily meetings which involves face to face conversation where team members have the opportunity review previous day’s work, plan the day’s work and discuss blockage in the project. Change in scope and amendment to plans can be done at this face to face meetings.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
    In order to identify whether the project has progressed, stage gates are put in place which are used to identify how well the project has progressed up until that stage. At these stages, changes are made and problems corrected in order to prevent the problems escalating further into the project. By doing this, the scope of the project remains the strong focus in being achieved and by fulfilling the requirements and keeping to the scope of the project it can provide evidence that working software is a measure of progress. To ensure that scope management is working effectively, changes are documented when required and agreed upon by the customer so that relevant changes are made to the baseline which can show not only progression but scope being monitored effectively.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
    Scope management promotes sustainable development throughout the project lifecycle. It encourages that changes are monitored and controlled in comparison to the baseline. If problems or changes are required these are done as soon as required so that the project can proceed in a sustainable manner. In order for the project to meet the requirements of the customer, scope helps to ensure that the sponsors, developers and users are involved throughout the project so that any problems, issues or changes required are agreed upon before they are implemented so that the scope of the project does not lose the vision. This indefinite constant pace ensures that a baseline is produced based on the needs and requirements but as new requirements or changes become apparent in the project these are understood, agreed upon and documented so all stakeholders are aware of the changes and are satisfied with the outcome. Should the user not be involved throughout the project then its likely the scope can change without their knowledge and therefore not satisfy the requirements which would set back the project or lead to failure which is why a constant pace is important in scope management.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
    Scope management is vital to the success of projects. By ensuring that continuous attention to detail of the scope of the project, it helps to minimise risks and strive towards project success by fulfilling the requirements of the customer and satisfying stakeholders. It also helps to shape the project by allowing changes that will improve the deliverable which can provide a good design and enhance agility through getting things right.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
    This principle in agile refers to concentrating more on the features that adds value to the requirement of the customer and eliminating feature that don’t hence ensuring that the customer is able to appreciate the outcome of the project. In project management (APM, PMI or PRINCE 2) this principle support the concept of scope of work. Project scope outlines the boundary of work to be done hence the determination of projects objectives, deliverables, timelines, milestones, task and activities, limitation and exclusions. The process of ensuring that only the necessary work required to satisfy customer requirements are accomplished is known as scope management (PMBOK, 2008). Scope management ensures that projects are less complex and are delivered faster.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
    This principle relates to the fact that good product or service ideas cannot be plan upfront but must emerge or be discovered in a developmental way by a team that works together and organise themselves in such a way as to handle all aspect of the product, service or system. In the process of working together, they are allowed to make errors, evaluate these errors, develop solutions to these errors, reflect on what happened in the process of development (or iteration) and identifies and learn from their success and errors so as to identify areas for improvement in the future. This is usually not the case in the project scope management knowledge area as it requires that most part of the project to be plan upfront. This knowledge area is very crucial to project success as it outlines the work that needs to be done to satisfy customer requirements that it involves a very methodical and calculated planning, monitoring and controlling approach. This approach involves the orderly completion of tasks and once a task is completed, there is an assumption it won’t be reconsidered again. Despite the above, this principle may be relevant to the project team charge with the responsibilities of managing the project scope especially in the area of:
    Collaboration – decentralised execution of task by constant interaction of project members.
    Lesson learnt – the knowledge acquired from the process of carrying out the project which may be identified and documented at any stage of the project.
    Best practice – a method that has consistently shown results outstanding to those acheved with other means and is accepted as a standard.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
    This principles involves the use of retrospective to inspect, reflect and adapt their ways of working by identifying ways to improve. This principle’s key characteristics include behavioural change, fine tuning, and adjustment. It is necessitated by the fact that organisations needs to continuously improve by continuously delivering value to survive the dynamism of the environment in which they operate. In traditional project management, the application of this principle is carried out using processes and tools instead of the interaction of project team member in an agile environment. In scope management, the process that is used to improve the project scope so that the project delvers value is known as change control. Change control is a systematic process that is used to build in flexibility and improvement into the scope of a project by ensuring that the improvement goes through a process of analysis and evaluation to determine its impact on all areas of the project like speed of project delivery and value added.


Other agile principles or practices

Principle of emergent order this is a CAS principle that requires that the solution being developed to be responsive to the emerging changes in project requirements or project scope and should also take into account feedback gained from the exercise of frequent releases and integrate them into the final product.

The XP value- Feedback, is important for scope verification, because constant feedback probes discussion on the previously planned requirements and give information about the progress of the work. Also feedback can aid in team communication and morale, furthermore it makes the client feel involved in the development process.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation is quite relevant to scope management, because it allows for constant collaboration and iteration with other stakeholders, which is extremely helpful in understanding the customers needs and expectations. Also it helps in matters where the client or customer is unsure of their requirement and application specification.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development one of the major issues about scope management is the "scope creep", which is concerned with including additional requirements, which were not part of the original scope. It is considered that those additional requirements may cause deviations from the original schedule and budget.

Responding to change over following a planis quite relevant to Scope Management because in order to have effective attitude towards changes arising, it is important to be able to respond on time to all changes arising during the project life cycle in a flexible way and to prevent unexpected deviations from the original requirements that may have a negative impact on project's outcomes.

User stories: are an XP practice used by the customer or user to state precise scope definition on each iteration. User stories can be used to define the functions needed and to facilitate requirements and scope management.

Story mapping: is another Scrum practice that is relevant to project scope management, as it helps the team to define the scope in a more structured approach. Story mapping consists of ordering user stories along two independent dimensions.

Release planning: is another Agile practice,‍‍ that can relate to project scope management, as it is a guideline that reflects expectations about which features will be implemented. It is also used as a base to monitor progress within the project. Conditions of satisfaction (such as goals for the schedule, scope, and resources) must be available in order to create the release plan.

Links to PMO knowledge areas (KAs)

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Project scope management ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍is a vital function in the management of any project, as the efficient implementation of this knowledge area relates to the successful management of other knowledge areas like quality management, cost management, risk management, and time management. Because the final document produced and signed by the project board from the project scope management process, outlines the project plan. This project plan document contains information for the effective management of the stated knowledge areas. More so, it encourages good communication culture, because customers are informed prior to any changes on the project scope at the implementation stage. project scope management can also be improved by using value stream mapping practices.


Gardiner ,P.,D., (2005) Project Management : A strategic planning approach , Palgrave Macmillan.

PMBoK (2008) "A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" Project Management Institute. 2nd edition

External link (alternative name ) (principle of emergent order) (customer collaboration ) (change requirements) (responding to change ) (user stories)

This principles involves the use of retrospective to inspect, reflect and adapt their ways of working by identifying ways to improve. This principle’s key characteristics include behavioural change, fine tuning, and adjustment. It is necessitated by the fact that organisations needs to continuously improve by continuously delivering value to survive the dynamism of the environment in which they operate. In traditional project management, the application of this principle is carried out using processes and tools instead of the interaction of project team member in an agile environment. In scope management, the process is known as change control. Change control is a systematic process that is used to build in flexibility and improvement into project plans by ensuring that the improvement goes through a process of analysis and evaluation to determine its impact on all areas of the project like speed of project delivery and value added.