Product Scope vs Project Scope

product scope vs project scopeThe difference between the Product Scope and the Project Scope is one of the most confusing topics in  project management that often makes many people perplexed & it is difficult for them distinguish between these two terms.

I also often see in many PMP forums and in PMP group emails that people are asking questions such as what is the project scope and what is the product scope, etc. There are replies to this query, but many times the replies are not up to the expectation of the inquirer.

That is why I am writing this blog post to cover the whole concept describing the difference between the project scope and the product scope.

Please let me know if this explanation is up to your expectations.

Project Scope

The Project Scope includes all the work needed to be done to create a product, or deliver a service, or result. The Project Scope is all about the project, it defines the requirements of products, the work required to create the product, and defines what is in the scope and what not.

The Project scope is also known as scope statement or statement of the work.

Product Scope

The Product Scope is the characteristics, features, or function of the product, service, or result. It is the outcome of the project. The Product Scope is all about the product: how will it look like, how will it function, etc.

Got it? If not, don’t worry. Just keep on reading…

Let me explain this to you by our trademark school building example. :)

The client comes and asks you to construct a school building for him. He gave you his requirements like what would be the size of the school building, how many rooms it will have, size of the playground, number of toilets, color of painting, when he needs it, etc.

You take the project and start working on it. You make the plan, create the schedule, and estimate the budget.

Subsequently, you move on to the execution part. You bring workers to the site and start constructing the school building. You complete the project and verify with client that the school building is as per his requirements. Then you hand over the school building to the client, get the payment, and the project is closed.

In the above example, there are two parts: in the first part client asks you to make a school building for him and gives you his requirements (characteristics). This school building is the Product and the requirements for this product are known as Scope. Therefore, in the first part, what  he gave you is the Product Scope.

In the second part, you work to construct the school building within the given time, and budget, meeting all the client’s requirements by following the project management plans. Lastly, you deliver it to the client. In this part, what you have done to construct the school building, is the Project Scope.

This was all about the Project Scope and the product scope. Now I believe that you can go for the PMP Certification exam with no worries about having any doubt regarding the difference between Project Scope vs Product Scope.

image credit => adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. says

    Related to the statement under Product Scope heading: “It is the outcome of the project”. ”
    This is very interpretable. Let me cite the PRINCE2 methodology manual “Managing successful projects with PRINCE2″ , page 21-22, on the outcome of the project:
    4.2.2 Outputs, outcomes and benefits
    In PRINCE2:
    • A project’s output is any of the project’s specialist products (whether tangible or
    intangible)
    • An outcome is the result of the change derived from using the project’s outputs
    • A benefit is the measurable improvement resulting from an outcome that is perceived as an advantage by one or more stakeholders.

    Example of output, outcome and benefits

    Output: New sales system
    Outcome: Sales orders are processed more
    quickly and accurately
    Benefits: Costs are reduced by 10%, volume
    of sales orders increased by 15% and revenue
    increased by 10% annually.

    Sincerely,

  2. Nakara Basuava Bappa says

    thanks for the details-
    Questions.1) – why it is important for pmp to learn about products management while exam is about project management?
    Questions.2) – can we have questions on product management in exams?
    Questions.3) – are you refering to PMbok3 or pmbok4?

    • Fahad Usmani says

      Answer. 1) As a project manager you should know about the product management in brief. Product management is not very important for the PMP exam.
      Answer.2) There is a very less chance that you will see a question about the product management in your PMP exam; however, be prepared.
      Answer.3) I am referring the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition.

    • says

      Let’s wait for PMBOK V 5, it is scheduled to be issued until this year’s end, there are some distinct modifications.
      Usually, it is recommended to learn a little bit more in the project management occupation, than the simple standard statements. In this way, project managers should take care that the product management lifecycle is longer and it includes the project management lifecycle during which the project’ related (output) product is conceived and delivered.

  3. Faisal Naik says

    How do we define the difference between

    Product Scope Verification and Project Scope Verification? Which Process groups each of them get verified in?

    • Fahad Usmani says

      Product scope verification will be performed under ‘Validate Scope’ process and ‘Close Project or Phase’ process.

      Output of ‘Validate Scope’ process is Accepted Deliverables, which is an input for the
      ‘Close Project or Phase’ process.

      Output of ‘Close Project or phase’ process is a ‘Final Product’.

      Regarding the Project Scope Verification, it is measured against the Project Management Plan.

  4. Alok says

    Hi Fahad,

    Thanks a lot for the explanation, it makes more sense now. Reading the example above it is evident that first the product scope should be clear and only then the PM can define the project scope. Once the product scope is clearly defined and we start with project scope or the statement of work (each company has its own defined way to lead it); would I be correct in thinking of the Project Scope to be a combined package of:
    -Project Plan
    - RACI or any equivalent document
    - Budget and Estimation sheet
    - Governance structure
    and the methods of creating a project scope can be a all stakeholders meeting (apologies if I am going tangential to the topic) but to make sure that I do it the correct way, I am trying to confirm my statement above and pick your brain at the same time. Thanks again for all the help :)

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