PMI Bangalore Chapter


PM Essence

Managing Scope – Gets PM Article under Microscope

– Chandan Pahuja, PMP

One of the cornerstones of successful scoping of a project is to continuously determine “what is” and “Is Not” included in the project. While “In-Scope” section gets its fair share of time and effort by the Project team under the leadership of a project manager, “the out-of scope” sometime gets left out with little to no focus to meet its own fate. . 


While focusing on “In-Scope” helps team keep tab on delivering “what work is required and ONLY that work is done”, sparing rightful time and effort on “Out of Scope” outwardly brings in several project and program level benefits. Stressing on effective scoping is at times misinterpreted as fencing the project to safe guard intrusion from the “UNKNOWN”. Project Managers walk a tight rope in drawing the project deliverable boundary and ensuring those boundaries do not give room to wall their project in isolation from the program.


Giving a rightful time and effort towards scoping, especially Out of Scope Area, yields below benefits to the project and programs –

Getting the “Big Picture” perspective of the Program: 
– One of the common factors contributing to the low confidence of the Project Team towards the project is that they do not have visibility at Program level or in commonly used term “The Larger Cause”. Spending reasonable time on putting clear ownership of “OUT OF SCOPE” tasks helps in teeing the loose ends at program level which ensures that Project Manager has right visibility of Program vision which can be percolated down the team. Additionally, it also helps develop better understanding of deliverable level inter-dependencies.
Thoughtful Housing of “Out of Scope” helps in building a well-informed Dependency list:
Housing “Out of Scope” helps create a firm “GIVE and GET” handshake across deliverables of the projects within a program. This helps reduce ambiguity surrounding accountability of the deliverable at an early stage of project planning and puts logical path to achieve the desired objectives. It is often viewed like the web where each stand looks interconnected. Conflicts over deliverable ownership which at times seems inevitable in a complex program can be managed with collaborative focus on “Out of Scope” housing.
Develops a sense of Team Work at Program Level:
An End to End scoping effort contributes to the big picture at program level and helps to build program life cycle. It strengthens the commitment of the Project team towards program level objectives and helps to instill confidence towards common program objective. By working in close collaboration to house the deliverables, one fosters a culture of sharing and helping in the workplace, which is essential for inculcating the culture of trust and respect in the system. Rather than treating the colleagues as means to the ends of meeting project objectives, one should show appreciation of what they do for you.
Housing the Customer’s Requirements to manage Anxiety:
Every customer wants his outlined requirement to be elicited, analyzed and recorded in detail by Project Team. The attention to detail put by the project team in quality scoping plays an important role in giving that assurance of the project being in safe and credible hands. This in turn helps to bolster the rapport in customer relationship and paves way for up sell and cross sell opportunities between customer and the supplier. Scoping outcomes at an early stage of Project Lifecycle decides whether the client will sit at the rear seat and enjoy the project journey or will be watchful with caution throughout the journey. Securing client confidence with his active engagement in project scoping as a “trusted partner” upholds client confidence and creates basis for building rapport.
Promoting a “Internal” Customer Relationship Value within the Program:
An “Internal Customer” includes anyone in the organization who works together to satisfy the expectations of external clients. Often, the team focused on its own project deliverables loses the sight of how its deliverables interact with those nterdependent deliverables within a program. Effective SCOPING effort helps recognize the internal customers within the organization that in turn improves the service efficiency of the organization towards the client. The ability to deliver a good quality internal customer service is largely a state of mind where requests from colleagues within a program are not interruptions to the success, but a chance to improve internal customer service. Developing an Internal Customer Service attitude involves learning to see oneself as a service provider taking pride in that role and looking for opportunities to exceed expectations of colleagues who are the internal customers.
Below are some tips to help an Effective Scoping Exercise: