Project manager typing on laptop

Project Scope Management is pretty much what it sounds like — managing the project’s scope.

As with most steps in the project life cycle, however, there’s a bit more to Project Scope Management than meets the eye.

What is Project Scope Management?

Project Scope Management is one of the original 10 Knowledge Areas identified by the Project Management Institute.

Managing scope is all about ensuring that all project requirements are met and that only the defined requirements are met.

So project managers need to make sure that every requirement that was defined and approved in the planning phase is included in the project, and also that nothing additional is included that hasn’t gone through the approved change control process.

The second part of that gets into gold-plating, whereby project members add features or other items that weren’t part of the project scope, in an attempt to improve the deliverable.

Gold-plating can be detrimental to a project’s success, for many reasons, and it must be avoided as stringently as the defined requirements must be followed.

Outputs of Project Scope Management

In Project Scope Management, a project manager will measure deliverables to determine whether requirements were met as defined, using the scope baseline — including the project scope statement and a work breakdown structure — for measurement.

Key elements of Project Scope Management include:

  • Approved and clearly defined project scope
  • Detailed collection of requirements
  • Work breakdown structure
  • Plan for validating scope
  • Change control process, for controlling scope creep
  • Team management, to ensure all requirements are met

Avoiding scope creep is essential to successfully managing project scope, and we’ve gone into detail on how to control scope creep in a separate article, but in short, project managers must be diligent about defining scope requirements early on — and gaining signoff for those requirements from the proper stakeholders — and then ensure that any changes to scope will be processed properly so that cost and/or schedule can be adjusted as needed.