PMP Certification: Define Scope (based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition)


  • WHAT Define Scope Is. Define Scope implies understanding and documenting in detail the scope of the project, to create the project scope statement.
  • WHY Define Scope Is Important. The precision and completeness of scope definition are crucial to the success of the project. Conversely, an undocumented scope might lead to scope creep or/and gold plating.
  • WHEN Define Scope Is Executed. The Define Scope process selects the final project requirements from the project requirements list generated during the Collect Requirements process. Due to the iterative nature of these two processes, scope and requirements are progressively elaborated in a loop, as more details become known.
  • HOW Define Scope Operates.
Image titled pmp certification define scope pmbok guide 6th edition

Define Scope 101

What Does Define Scope Involve and When Do You Perform It in a Project Life Cycle?


  • WHAT Define Scope Is. Define Scope implies understanding and documenting in detail the scope of the project, to create the project scope statement.
  • WHY Define Scope Is Important. The precision and completeness of scope definition are crucial to the success of the project. Conversely, an undocumented scope might lead to scope creep or/and gold plating.
  • WHEN Define Scope Is Executed. The Define Scope process selects the final project requirements from the project requirements list generated during the Collect Requirements process. Due to the iterative nature of these two processes, scope and requirements are progressively elaborated in a loop, as more details become known.
  • HOW Define Scope Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project charter
  2. Project management plan
    • Scope management plan
  3. Project documents
    • Assumption log
    • Requirements documentation
    • Risk register
  4. Enterprise environmental factors
  5. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Data analysis
    • Alternatives analysis
  3. Decision making
    • Multicriteria decision analysis
  4. Interpersonal and team skills
    • Facilitation
  5. Product analysis
  1. Project scope statement
  2. Project documents updates
    • Assumption log
    • Requirements documentation
    • Requirements traceability matrix
    • Stakeholder register

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 6th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.3, p. 150.

Define Scope Key Terms

project management professional certification 2018 all-in-one free online prep tipsographicWhat Are the Key Terms to Fully Understand the Process of Defining Scope?


  • Organizational Process Assets. Lessons learned from previous projects and formal and informal policies, procedures, plans and guidelines of any and all of the organizations involved in the project whose effects must be considered.
  • Project Scope Statement. Providing a basis to determine if changes in project scope lie within or outside project’s boundaries, it contains the following elements:
    • project’s deliverables and work required to create them
    • common understanding of scope among stakeholders
    • explicit scope exclusions.

Define Scope Tips

What Are the Best Tips to Answer Correctly the PMP Certification Exam Questions on Define Scope Process?


  • Iterative Life Cycle. In a project split up into iterations, a detailed scope is developed at the start of every iterative life cycle, not upfront.

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

SOURCES: Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 6th ed. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

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