Project scoping is a process that should be undertaken before and during any project being implemented. It goes without saying that it would not make sense for a business to jump straight into a project just with their fingers crossed, their wallets loaded, and/or hoping for the best.
Projects simply don’t work blind, and this is where project scoping comes in. According to PMBOK’s Guide, by taking the time to step back to analyse and evaluate your project and its features, you can be proactive in minimising the number of problems you will have while making sure everything is finished on time and within budget.
That said, there’s certain guidelines to follow when it comes to project scoping. After all, there’s no point in implementing something if you’re not going to do it properly or accurately. Let’s explore the project scoping process in depth. Follow these rules to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered and are leaving no stone unturned.
Understand Your Project
The fact that you’ve already decided that you’re going to implement a project into your business typically means that you’re going to be addressing a certain problem. This could be anything:
- Improving your services
- Streamlining day-to-day operations
- Implementing a new system
- Introducing a new product or service
- Making changes to your office building
- Opening a new department
- Experimenting with a new process
It doesn’t matter how big or small your project is, the chances are that it’s going to have a knock-on effect to the rest of your business, so it’s in your best interests to keep the collateral to a minimum.
This means that the first step to take in your project scoping process is to make sure that you completely understand the end goal of your project, and that everybody else involved is on the same page. You could be addressing a problem, you could be trying to expand your business, or you could be trying to make things more efficient.
Make sure this end goal is clear in everybody’s minds before moving onto the stages of implementation. This will help to minimise misunderstanding and miscommunication further into the project. You can write up a checklist and ‘project packs’ using tools like Academized and AustralianHelp, so everybody has all the information they need.
Consider Everyone Affected
There are so many people that could possibly be affected by any given project of your business, so it’s important that you identify and notify these people, so there is minimal fuss and confusion down the line. Create project scope documentation. For example, if you’re renovating the changing room in your factory, you’ll obviously need to notify the people who use that room of where they need to go until it’s been completed. Don’t forget to look at it from all angles and consider all the details. For example, the cleaners who clean the changing room will also need to avoid this site for health and safety reasons, so they’ll need to be notified.
If you’re planning an expensive project, you will also need to identify the stakeholders in your business that the project is going to take place. A stakeholder in a project situation is very context-specific. Some projects will need you to tell others, whereas others may not need to know at all, it solely depends on the situation.
In some cases, for example, if you’re running a retail store where members of the public use your facilities, you’ll need to let customers know of the pending project and the effect that it could have on them. If you’re redesigning your website, you may need to notify customers that your site could be down for several days. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing customers.
Research External Influences
Any sized project is going to be regulated by the laws, regulations, state laws, national laws, health and safety requirements, union requests, and/or any other guidelines that your business policy calls for, so it’s important that you research deeply and accurately the possible consequences and effects that these regulations will have on your project.
If you’re looking for all the laws and regulations that could affect your project, you can enlist the help of research guides like the Administrative and Regulatory Law Research Guide by Harvard Law School. Alternatively, professional services like Wbresearch or UKWritings can research these external influences on your behalf.
Identify Problem Areas
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of your project’s goals and the influences (internal and external) that are at play, it’s now time to sit down and identify any problems that are going to arise.
Of course, some problems are going to be much easier to see than others. For example, if your website is going down or changing services, you’re going to lose sales during that time. In this situation, online customers may start coming into your physical store, something your shop assistants may be unprepared for. If people can’t contact you online, they may try calling you, so consider if your customer service department is going to be prepared for the potential influx. If no online orders are being processed, what are all your staff going to do in the time that they would be processing orders?
Alex Jackson, a project manager for Boomessays, states, “As you can see, even something like updating your website which may seem like a relatively basic project can have serious consequences for the rest of your business. Be sure to get everybody on board for this part of the project scoping process to ensure everything is covered.”
Prepare for the Worst
Of course, there are going to be some problems that you simply won’t be able to avoid. These are unforeseeable and will jump out of nowhere. Despite not knowing exactly what these issues are going to be, there are still many ways that you can prepare for you them.
The main resources that are going to be used up in your project are time and money. By setting aside both for unforeseen circumstances, you can make sure that any problems that do come up can be alleviated quickly and with minimal negative consequences,” says Miranda Harper, a project consultant.
Finalizing Your Project
Once everything is in place, you can start working on finalizing your project scope. You’re going to want clean and easy to understand documentation that anybody in your business could pick up and understand.
When you’ve finished writing your project documentation, make sure you edit and proofread it several times or use online writing guides like Revieweal and TopCanadianWriters to ensure that it’s 100% accurate. Writing a project up in this way is the best way to minimise the risk of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when it comes to your project scoping process. By making sure that you’re as accurate as possible, you’ll be prepared and maximize the chances that your project will be successful.