Defining project scope

You've been assigned to manage a major project that involves complex dependencies, multiple resources, and — naturally — a tight deadline. Where do you start?

You can start by defining the project scope. Scope definition involves breaking down the main project deliverables into smaller, more manageable deliverables. You develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) so that you can manage each component more effectively. By using a WBS, you can more accurately estimate the time, cost, and resource requirements of each deliverable and set baselines for performance measurement. You can also keep better tabs on resources and assign clear-cut responsibilities to people and groups.

To create a WBS, you identify the major project components and break them down until they can be managed effectively. If you don't think you'll be able to manage cost, schedule, and quality well at a specified level, you can break down the components further. Your goal is to have clear, well-defined steps to completing the project as planned, on time, and within budget.

The following links provide you with the tools and information needed to define your project scope and deliver the project as promised.

  • About scope management (Article)
    Learn about defining the scope of a project and subdividing it into manageable deliverables.
  • Write a scope statement (Article)
    Learn to write an effective scope statement to define the work of the project and the customer's business objectives.
  • Scope statement (Template)
    Use this Word template to document project justification, deliverables, objectives, and assumptions or limitations.
  • Work Breakdown Structure (Template)
    Use this Word template to identify deliverables and the resources and estimated time required to complete them.
Applies to:
Project 2003, Word 2003