scope-baseline

Scope Baseline consists of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Scope Statement, and WBS Dictionary. It is one of three performance measurement baselines. The other two baselines are schedule and cost baseline. 

The scope is the most important project parameter because you must complete the scope of work to successfully finish and deliver the project.

This blog post will discuss the scope baseline, its components, and its importance in project management.

Let’s get started.

Scope Baseline

The scope baseline is not one document; it is a collection of three documents: Scope Statement, Work Breakdown Structure, and the WBS Dictionary.

The scope baseline is a controlled document, and the project’s status and progress are measured against this blueprint.

Components of Scope Baseline

The following are the three components of the scope baseline:

  1. Scope Statement
  2. Work Breakdown Structure
  3. WBS Dictionary

Scope Statement

A scope statement is a document that defines the complete scope of work. It provides all details on project deliverables, goals, assumptions and constraints, inclusion, exclusion, etc.

Work Breakdown Structure

phase-based-wbs

The Work Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical breakdown of all the project work or deliverables into smaller and manageable tasks. Usually, the WBS has two to three levels of detail, and the element at the lowest level is called the work package.

Sometimes, work packages are preceded by planning packages, and control accounts precede planning packages. 

WBS Dictionary

creating-wbs-dictionary

The WBS Dictionary is an integral part of WBS; in fact, the WBS is incomplete without the WBS Dictionary. Being graphical, WBS does not show element details; therefore, the WBS Dictionary lists all the WBS element details.

Uses of Scope Baseline

Scope baseline defines the approved deliverables, the scope of work, and agreed-upon goal(s). It is the foundation of project progress, helping you determine your daily work based on it.

A scope baseline helps you:

  • provide common agreement among stakeholders,
  • advance the project with no hassle,
  • provide a basis for monitoring and controlling the work,
  • avoid scope creep and gold plating.

A scope baseline is an approved document containing stakeholders’ requirements and expectations. The scope baseline is the document you will consult to get back on track in case of any deviation. It is a good communication tool to let team members be aware of their job responsibilities.

Since you have all the tasks defined in front of you and your team members, everyone knows what they are supposed to do. There will be no ambiguity in responsibility, and you can complete the work with no hassle.

The scope baseline is an approved document, helping you measure your project’s status and progress against a clear objective. If you want to make scope changes, you will need to raise a change request and get the new scope baseline approved.

Since all changes are controlled, there will be less chance of scope creep, which is an uncontrolled change in scope. Also, the chances of gold plating (adding uncompensated extras) are reduced because the scope baseline is defined, and the progress is always matched with the scope baseline.

How to Develop Scope Baseline

The project manager develops the scope baseline along with the project management team.

The scope baseline is created while developing the Work Breakdown Structure and consists of the project scope statement, the WBS, and the WBS Dictionary.

The scope statement consists of a detailed description of the scope of work, project deliverables, assumptions, constraints, milestones, project inclusions, project exclusions, etc.

For developing the scope statement, you will review the contract document, go through the requirements document, and then compose the scope statement.

A WBS is a visual, hierarchical breakdown of a project into smaller components or tasks.

This is the vital foundation of project planning and helps managers identify project components so they can determine the project cost and develop the schedule. It integrates project scope, schedule, and cost baseline and ensures project plans are aligned.

A WBS structure is developed after you complete the scope statement. It validates the scope statement and helps refine it throughout the entire process.

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) can have two to three levels of details; however, complex projects can have more levels as required.

As per the PMBOK Guide, the WBS Dictionary is “A document that provides detailed deliverable, activity, and scheduling information about each component in the work breakdown structure.”

The Dictionary lays out each element of WBS, including deliverables, scope, duration, milestones, starts, and end dates, required resources, costs, quality, assigned team members, etc.

You will develop the WBS Dictionary during or after creating the WBS. The Dictionary reinforces the WBS and provides clarity for team members in understanding the WBS.

Conclusion

Scope baseline is the approved version of the scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary. To make changes in this document, you need to go through a formal change management system.

Developing a scope baseline is the first step towards the successful completion of the project. Scope baseline defines the scope of work, helps build the project schedule, and provides information on milestones, assumptions, constraints, etc. 

It is one of the performance measurements baselines that helps you keep your project on track.

I hope this post has clarified your understanding of the all-important scope baseline, and I want to hear more about your experience with the scope baseline. Please share your experience through the comments section.

This topic is important from a PMP exam point of view.