Using a work management platform can simplify scope planning.

What Is Scope in Project Management and How Can Help?

Would you ever start baking a cake without knowing the full list of ingredients or without having an idea of what the finished cake should look like? Of course not — it wouldn't make any sense. The same principle applies to project management. Without a clear understanding of what the project entails and what the deliverables should be, reaching a successful conclusion is nearly impossible.

In this article, we’ll explore what project scope is, why it’s essential, and how using a work management platform can simplify scope planning.

What is Scope in Project Management?

Project scope is all about defining the work required to complete a project and identifying what is outside the project's boundaries. It provides a comprehensive overview for everyone involved — including project stakeholders — detailing how to measure the project's success and setting clear boundaries.

These boundaries typically encompass:

  • What’s included in the project: The tasks, activities, and work necessary to complete the project.
  • Required deliverables: The specific outcomes or products that must be produced.
  • Criteria for project success: The standards or benchmarks used to evaluate whether the project has met its goals.

The project scope is developed using information from the project plan, project charter, and insights gathered from key stakeholders. By clearly defining the scope, project managers can ensure everyone is on the same page, reducing misunderstandings and enhancing the likelihood of project success.

What Is Project Scope Management?

Project scope management encompasses ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and within the approved scope.

Let's dive into what’s involved in managing project scope. Project scope management isn't always simple; in fact, it's a complex process with many layers. To borrow a phrase from Shrek, it's like an onion — it has layers.

Project scope management encompasses ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and within the approved scope. It also involves managing any scope changes that arise during the project. This crucial aspect of project management takes place during the project planning phase of the project management life cycle.

If that isn't enough, you also need to ensure that any changes to the scope do not negatively impact the project deliverables.

But don’t worry — we're here to help. To give you a clearer understanding of what’s involved in project scope management, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Five Essential Steps for Defining Project Scope

Set clear, specific goals that outline what success looks like for the project.

Defining project scope can be streamlined into five fundamental steps:

  • Identify Project Needs: Understand and document what the project aims to achieve and the requirements necessary to meet those objectives.
  • Determine Project Goals: Set clear, specific goals that outline what success looks like for the project.
  • Consider Project Limitations: Recognize and account for any constraints, such as time, budget, and resources, that may impact the project.
  • Define Resources and Budget: Identify the resources (personnel, equipment, materials) and budget needed to accomplish the project goals.
  • Craft Your Project Scope Statement: Develop a detailed project scope statement that clearly outlines the project's objectives, deliverables, boundaries, and success criteria.

What Is a Project Scope Statement?

A project scope statement is exactly what it sounds like — a written document that delineates the scope of a project. It serves as a comprehensive guide detailing various aspects crucial to project management.

This statement typically includes:

  1. Project Objectives: Clearly defined goals that the project aims to achieve.
  2. Project Constraints: Factors or limitations that may impact the execution of the project, such as time, budget, or resources.
  3. Project Assumptions: Conditions or factors assumed to be true or certain during the project's lifespan.
  4. Critical Success Factors: Key elements or criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful.

The project scope statement serves as a reference point throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring that the project stays on track and aligned with its intended scope. Neglecting to create this essential document can lead to project drift and confusion, potentially derailing progress. Hence, it’s imperative for successful project planning and execution.

Despite its significance, it’s surprising that only 61% of businesses incorporate a project scope statement into their project planning process. Without this guiding document, projects risk losing direction and facing unnecessary delays, a scenario that no project manager wants to encounter.

What Is The Relationship Between Work Breakdown Structure and Project Scope?

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is essentially a breakdown of the entire project, typically following the Waterfall methodology.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is essentially a breakdown of the entire project, typically following the Waterfall methodology. (For Agile projects, similar functions are fulfilled by tools like the product backlog.) It provides a hierarchical representation of all project deliverables in one centralized location, usually developed after the project scope statement is approved.

Now, how do you go about creating your own WBS?

You have two primary options:

  • Create from Scratch: Start from scratch, manually breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Utilize a Work Management Platform: Opt for a work management platform such as to automate and streamline the process, saving time and effort.

Given the choice, leveraging a work management platform often proves to be the more efficient option. It spares you from tedious manual work and ensures a more organized and comprehensive breakdown of project tasks.

What Is A Scope Baseline In Project Management?

The scope baseline serves as a refined version of the initial project scope, offering greater detail and often presented in a measurable format. While the initial scope might consist of descriptive paragraphs and rough diagrams, the baseline is more structured and serves as a benchmark for comparison as the project progresses, aiding in identifying changes.

Typically depicted as a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or a product backlog in Agile frameworks, the scope baseline is crucial for measuring scope changes throughout the project and assessing the success of the final delivered scope. It can only be modified through a formal change control process, emphasizing the need for its establishment before project commencement.

Managing the scope baseline can be complex, making project management software invaluable. Such tools facilitate easy tracking of the baseline and provide automatic notifications of any alterations during the project lifecycle.

Now, what does "out of scope" mean?

Anything not encompassed within the project scope statement is considered out of scope. For example, if a task deviates from the original project plan or fails to contribute to project objectives, it falls into this category. Clear delineation of what is out of scope is vital in scope management to avoid misunderstandings and prevent scope creep.

As a project manager, it's your responsibility to ensure the team adheres to the defined scope and mitigates scope creep. Clearly stating excluded work in the project scope and utilizing robust Work OS platforms like can aid in maintaining project alignment with the scope management plan, fostering communication, and ensuring transparency in task execution.

Get Ahead Of Project Scope Management With

Collaboration is key when working on projects aligned with your scope baseline

Navigating project scope management can be daunting, especially for newcomers. However, utilizing a versatile Work OS like can significantly ease the process, ensuring efficient management of project scope. Here's how we can help:

  • Flexibility: We understand the importance of flexibility in project management. Our software offers exceptional flexibility, allowing you to customize views and layouts to best suit your team's needs. Whether you prefer a Gantt chart, a Kanban board, or a split view, we've got you covered.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration is key when working on projects aligned with your scope baseline. With, teams have a centralized platform for updates, file sharing, and communication. You can seamlessly interact with team members and even clients, all within our platform.
  • Intuitiveness: We recognize the value of simplicity, especially when dealing with complex projects. Our software is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. You won't need to spend hours setting up a new platform — navigating through our software is a breeze.

Make Scope In Project Management A Routine Process

Establishing scope in project management as a routine process can significantly streamline your project workflows and enhance overall efficiency. By now, you're familiar with what scope entails in project management and how crucial it is for project success.

However, effective scope management can be challenging to master. Why not simplify the process and save yourself some hassle by leveraging our project management tools? With our comprehensive suite of tools, you can seamlessly define, monitor, and manage project scope throughout its lifecycle. From initial scoping to scope baseline establishment and beyond, our tools are designed to streamline your project management workflows, ensuring smoother project execution and successful outcomes.

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