What Is A Project Scope? (With Template)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 July 2022

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project scope is a detailed document mentioning the deliverables at the end of the project, along with the work parameters. It is a crucial part of executing the project and getting the team aligned with the project goals. Defining a scope of project and designating tasks to various team members can map out a clear outline of the task at hand. In this article, we discuss what is a project scope, the importance of defining one, explore the steps to write a scope and provide items to include in your scope of project.

Related: What Are The Objectives Of Project Management? (With Phases)

What Is A Project Scope?

The answer to the question, 'What is a project scope?', is that it is a detailed document outlining all the important aspects of a project, including a list of project goals, timelines, deliverables, expenditure and tasks. The documentation of a project's scope is called terms of reference. It mentions the roles and responsibilities of each team member, discusses limitations of the project and goals to be accomplished in the time frame. Set up standard operating procedures while drafting this document to make the workflow effective and smooth. The project scope also mentions the process of approval and verification of work.

Large-scale projects may go through changes as they progress. In such scenarios, management can become efficient if you outline the project requirements before its commencement. It is ideal if the stakeholders are as precise as possible while documenting a project's scope. The scope statement helps the team make decisions based on the guidelines. Efficient project scope management can eliminate miscommunication and ensure that you align the team about the project's goals and agree on the steps taken towards achieving said goals. The team leader coordinates with the project stakeholders regularly, ensuring that the project progresses according to their requirements.

Related: What Is A Project Manager? (Duties And Qualification)

Importance Of Defining Project Scope

Writing what is a project scope is the first step in project planning. The importance of defining a project's scope can be justified through these advantages:

  • It establishes standard operating procedures for the team to follow.

  • It provides an outline for the managers to follow while allotting tasks for various team members.

  • It helps stakeholders define their expectations about the project and of the deliverables.

  • It helps team members focus on their respective tasks and achieve effective workflow.

  • It is helpful for large-scale projects where there can be complications. A project scope facilitates a strategic approach to align with the vision of the project.

  • It is a firm foundation that helps in managing project resources and making sure the team utilises them at the optimum level.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

How To Write A Project Scope?

Follow these steps to write a project scope effectively with clarity:

1. Collect important information related to the project

The first step towards writing the project scope is to collect all the key information related to the project. This information can come from different people, like sponsors, team managers and project stakeholders. You may also require researching extensively to collect this data.

Important information regarding a project can include:

Deliverables

Project deliverables include the final output or products that you require delivering to the client. For example, the final deliverables of a marketing project may include a campaign brief, videos, website and branding documents. Your project scope requires mentioning these clearly to avoid any confusion. These deliverables are available after discussing and finalising with all stakeholders and team members, as they are the most crucial members of the project. They also plan the required expenses, resources and timelines.

Project constraints

Mentioning project constraints in your project scope can provide clarity to stakeholders and avoid disagreements on deliverables. For instance, you might mention that you are not including certain products in a marketing campaign due to budget constraints. Project constraints can also mention how many revisions you are providing to the client.

All project constraints are essential to consider, as any changes in one may affect the other. Suppose if there is a change in quality, it might impact the budget. This means that achieving consistency and quality with available resources is an important project management skill. It is ideal to create the project schedule after taking into consideration these limitations as well.

Resources

Good resource management can aid in successfully delivering the project. Correctly allocating your resources in your project scope can help you plan and complete your deliverables. It includes managing finances, team members and capacity.

It is also helpful to mention the equipment and software that you may use for the project and their effectiveness and impact. A good project manager also takes into consideration that employees might work on multiple teams at the same time. They take the steps to ensure that the schedules do not overlap.

Inclusions and exclusions

After defining the deliverables of the project, it is also important to mention what they might include or exclude. This explains the requirements and details of the product or project. Not doing this may lead to unclear expectations from the stakeholders. You may always leave some scope for changes, but any assumptions can lead to disagreements while delivering.

For example, if your deliverable is a photoshoot, you can mention the cameras you are using, the number of final shots you are giving for each product and the number of required models for the shoot. Such details can be a part of your inclusions and exclusions segment.

2. Make a project schedule

Once you have all the required project information, it gives you the clarity to scheduling the project. Define how the project phases out according to the deliverables. This can include:

Project phases

For long-term projects, it is helpful to divide them into phases. As each phase ends, it can give the team a sense of accomplishment. Stakeholders can also see that the work is going according to schedule. This step is not compulsory, but can be helpful to boost team morale. For example, we can divide construction projects into phases in terms of a storey or level building progress.

Task list

You can make a list of tasks for the project by breaking down each deliverable into tasks. For example, we can break a branding project into tasks like fixing a colour palette, font, brainstorming, design and so on.

Quality is a crucial aspect while deciding the timeframe of each task. In accordance, schedule each task in a way that does not compromise quality. Individual team members can use this template on the overall project schedule to create their own list. It is advisable to keep some time available to accommodate errors and delays within the schedule.

3. Compile and review

Now that you have covered all the basics, it is time to write your project scope. Good project scope is on point and easy to understand. Even though you may want to mention every minute detail in the scope, it is a better fit for your project plan. It is ideal to keep your project scope within two to three paragraphs. The project scope may not include all project information.

Here are the things you can keep in mind when creating your project scope:

  • Ensure that the project scope aligns with the stakeholder's expectations.

  • Make sure you have enough resources to complete the project.

  • Reflect whether you have enough clarity on the project and why it is important to you.

  • Check if you have set realistic timelines for the tasks.

  • Ensure that you have not missed out on any possible project constraints.

  • Make sure that your list of inclusions and exclusion for the project is specific and detailed.

  • Align your team with the vision of the project.

  • Ensure that there is a buffer period in your schedule.

4. Put your project scope to work

The project scope you write is a reference point for other important documents like a budget planning document, communication plan, hierarchy structure, project plan and more. Throughout the project, it helps you make effective decisions and also assist if there are sudden changes in requirements. Precise and on-point project scope can define the project requirements with clarity, making it easier to execute the project.

Related: What Is A Project Coordinator? (Skills And Qualifications)

What To Include In A Project Scope?

Here are items to guide you when writing your own scope of project:

  • Project title: The name of your project

  • Project manager: Your name and contact details

  • Introduction: A brief introduction to the project

  • Objectives: Explanation of what the project means to achieve

  • Scope statement: A gist of the project scope

  • Deliverables: A list of deliverables

  • Measurement criteria: The tools and steps to measure progress

  • Boundaries: Inclusions and exclusions

  • Approval procedures: when and how approvals are going to be made

  • Deadlines: Work schedules and timelines

  • Costs: A brief idea about how much project elements might cost

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