project scope statement

The project scope statement is one of the most important project documents. You must understand it if you are in project management. This statement is a part of the scope baseline. Other components of the scope baseline are Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and WBS Dictionary.

I will explain the project scope statement in detail in today’s blog post.

Let’s get started.

Project Scope Statement

According to the PMBOK Guide, “The project scope statement is the description of the project scope, major deliverables, assumptions, and constraints.”

This document provides you with details of the project, the product scope, and the project deliverable. It gives a detailed description of the tasks to be executed, assumptions, constraints, milestones, and more. The project scope statement helps stakeholders have a common understanding of the project and its deliverable.

It contains the project inclusion and excursion that sets the project stakeholders’ expectations, so you face fewer hurdles in completing the project.

The project scope statement is the basis of your planning. It helps you review change requests; you will know what is included in the scope and what is not. If the request is outside of the project boundary, you may raise additional requirements or changes in baselines.

Developing a project scope statement involves determining the relevant facts, gathering documentation, and gaining agreement.

The project scope statement provides a detailed summary of some of the project charter elements.

Importance of Project Scope Statement

  • It helps the stakeholders understand the project and product scope.
  • It reduces the chances of scope creep at later stages.
  • It helps the project manager develop the project plan effortlessly.
  • Assists in developing project baselines.

The project scope statement lessens uncertainty by restricting the scope and giving all stakeholders clear project insight.

What is Included in the Project Scope Statement?

The project scope statement helps visualize the complete project and its deliverable. It includes the following:

  1. Product Scope Description: A detailed description of the product to be produced. 
  2. Product Acceptance Criteria: These are the criteria by which the consumers will readily accept the product as it satisfies their expectations.
  3. Project Deliverables: These are the project output, including elements like software or documents.
  4. Project Exclusions: These elements are outside of the project’s boundaries.
  5. Project Constraints: These include resource, organizational, political, technological, and any other constraints that affect performance. 
  6. Project Assumptions: These are conditions accepted to be true for your project to function smoothly—for example, the availability of employees when required.
  7. Milestones: Significant stages in a project’s timeline where crucial events occur. 
  8. Agreement: This shows stakeholders’ sign-off at the end of the statement, indicating their support. 

How to Develop a Project Scope Statement

The following pointers will help you along the way.

Identify Requirements

You should identify the various elements of a requirement that are essential in developing a project scope statement. 

You can collect requirements from stakeholders, users, and sponsors through questionnaires, workshops, interviews, or observation methods. Then, translate the complex requirements into simplified deliverables. 

The requirements include business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements, project requirements, transition requirements, and assumptions. These allow you to meet desires and expectations.

Define Products

You should document and detail the product requirements using a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM). This can also assist in tracking the status and revisions of products during development. 

Define Major Deliverables

The project scope statement should summarize the deliverables that allow the stakeholders an overview of final product expectations.

Define Milestones

Detail all project milestones so stakeholders can see the progress and know when the project will be completed. 

Acceptance Criteria

This is what the product must be for the client to accept the deliverable. If any of these conditions are not met, the client will reject the product.

Project Exclusion

Sometimes it is necessary to exclude some elements, so stakeholders understand explicitly. In later stages, this helps reduce scope creep.

Best Practices for a Successful Project Scope Statement

Detailed but Simple

The project scope statement must provide a detailed overview in a simple manner so stakeholders can go through it quickly. Avoid complex jargon that can be confusing. 

Specificity

The project scope statement should answer particular questions about the execution of tasks, allowing stakeholders to estimate the potential for success.

Example of Project Scope Statement

Product Scope Statement for Developing a Low-Cost Electric Car

Pros & Cons of Project Scope Statement

Pros

  • A well-written scope statement helps avoid scope creep. This occurs due to misunderstanding or miscommunication with stakeholders. 
  • A project scope statement makes you aware of the risks and constraints. 
  • It is a good communication tool.

Cons

  • A project scope statement takes time and resources to create, which might be counterproductive for small projects or businesses.
  • A detailed scope statement is not useful for agile projects.

Project Charter Vs Project Scope Statement

You may have noticed that the project scope statement element can also be seen in the project charter and you might be wondering about the difference between the two.

Note that though the project charter contains elements of the scope statement, there are different levels of detail between the two.

The project charter has high-level details, and it does not change often. On the other hand, the scope statement has all possible details of scope elements; it is usually updated when required through the project life cycle.

Also, the project charter can have the following:

  • Business case
  • Project objective
  • High-level project description
  • Key deliverables
  • Key milestones
  • Project budget
  • Project duration
  • Name of key stakeholders
  • Project success criteria
  • High-level project requirements
  • Key risks
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Name of the client
  • Exit criteria
  • Name of the project manager
  • Key assumptions and contraction

And the scope statement focuses on the following elements in detail:

  • Detailed scope description
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Project exclusions
  • Project deliverables

Summary

A project scope statement is an essential document and part of the scope baseline. It defines the product and includes the total work required to build the product.

This document is a good communication tool. Any change in the product or project must be reflected here. Ensure that it has all details to avoid conflict in the later stages of the project.

How is a scope statement helpful in your project? Please share with us through the comments section.