PMP Certification Exam Prep – Project Scope Management


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Project Scope Management is the second knowledge area of project management.

It includes a group of processes that define and control what is and is not included in the project.

Based on chapter 5 of PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition, here you will find:

  • all-in-one project management graphic of Project Scope Management, a quick reference guide to its definition, processes, and key terms
  • Project Scope Management basics, must-know tips to avoid common mistakes during your PMP certification exam, and keywords—by Project Scope Management processes

Read on!

Image titled PMP Certification Exam Prep — Project Scope Management

Project Scope Management Processes – Basics, Tips, and Keywords

1. Plan Scope Management

Icon titled Project Scope Management Planning Processes Tipsographic

Basics of Plan Scope Management

  • WHAT Plan Scope Management Is. In the Plan Scope Management process a project manager plans out all of the work necessary to define the project scope, make sure the team is planning to do the right work, and control it.
  • WHY Plan Scope Management Is Important. The Plan Scope Management process helps a project manager think through everything he/she will need to do to keep the project focused on the right work from beginning to end.
  • WHEN Plan Scope Management Is Executed. Although Plan Scope Management is the first process in the Project Scope Management Knowledge Area, a project manager can develop the scope management plan—one of its two outputs, together with the requirements management plan— in iterative stages during project planning. Indeed, the scope management plan is part of the project management plan, which is an input, in its turn, into the Plan Scope Management process.
  • HOW Plan Scope Management Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Project management plan
  • Project charter
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organizational process assets
  • Expert judgment
  • Meetings
  • Scope management plan
  • Requirements management plan

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.1, p. 107.

Tips on Plan Scope Management

  • Measurement of Completion of Scope.
    • Completion of product scope is measured against the product requirement.
    • Completion of project scope is measured against the project management plan.
  • Scope Management Plan. The Scope Management Plan is a project plan that tells how scope will be identified, managed and controlled but it doesn’t contain the project scope itself.
  • Meetings. Meetings are an important way to both gather and distribute technical information and build a high-performing team.

Keywords for Plan Scope Management

  • Product Scope. Features and functions that characterize a product, service or result.
  • Project Scope. Work performed to deliver the product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.
  • Project Charter. It provides the high-level project description and product characteristics from the project statement of work.
  • Scope Management Plan. A component of the project or program management plan that describes how the scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and verified.
  • Requirements Management Plan. A component of the project management plan that describes how requirements will be analyzed, documented, and managed.

2. Collect Requirements

Basics of Collect Requirements

  • WHAT Collect Requirements Is. The Collect Requirements process turns the needs of the project stakeholders into requirements, characteristics of the project deliverables.
  • WHY Collect Requirements Is Important. In the Collect Requirements process, a project manager identifies what the final product or service of the project—deliverables— will look like.
  • WHEN Collect Requirements Is Executed. The requirements-gathering process is used prior to completing the scope statement.
  • HOW Collect Requirements Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Scope management plan
  • Requirements management plan
  • Stakeholder management plan
  • Project charter
  • Stakeholder register
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Group creativity techniques
  • Group decision-making techniques
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Observations
  • Prototypes
  • Benchmarking
  • Context diagrams
  • Document analysis
  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.2, p. 111.

Tips on Collect Requirements

  • Joint Application Design (JAD) Sessions. A JAD is a facilitated workshop that brings together users and development team to define requirements.
  • Completion of Requirements. A project manager is done collecting requirements when each of them will be verifiable once built.

Keywords for Collect Requirements

  • Context Diagrams. A visual depiction of the product’s scope by showing a business system (process, equipment, computer system, etc.), and how people and systems (actors) interact with it.
  • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. A decision matrix to provide a systematic analytical approach for establishing criteria, such as risk levels, uncertainty, and valuation, to evaluate and rank ideas.
  • Facilitated Workshop Techniques. Joint Application Development—improving the software development process— and Quality Function Deployment—determine critical characteristics of new product development.

3. Define Scope

Basics of Define Scope

  • WHAT Define Scope Is. The Define Scope process understands and documents in detail the scope of the project, creating the project scope statement.
  • WHY Define Scope Is Important. The precision and completeness of scope definition is 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 detail becomes known.
  • HOW Define Scope Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Scope management plan
  • Project charter
  • Requirements documentation
  • Organizational process assets
  • Expert judgment
  • Product analysis
  • Alternatives generation
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Project scope statement
  • Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.3, p. 120.

Tips on Define Scope

  • Iterative Life Cycle. In a project split up into iterations—iterative life cycles, the scope is not developed upfront, but detailed scope of each iteration is defined at the start of every iteration.

Keywords for Define 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. Contains the following elements:
    • The project’s deliverables and the work required to create them
    • A common understanding of Scope among Stakeholders
    • Explicit scope exclusions
    • Provides a basis to determine if changes in project scope are contained within or outside the project’s boundaries.

4. Create Work Breakdown Structure

Basics of Create Work Breakdown Structure

  • WHAT Create Work Breakdown Structure Is. Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the process of taking the deliverables listed in the scope statement and subdividing them into smaller components. It’s where a project manager actually identifies all the work needed in the project.
  • WHY Create Work Breakdown Structure Is Important. The Create Work Breakdown Structure is a critical process of planning since much of the other work in planning is based on the WBS.
  • WHEN Create Work Breakdown Structure Is Executed. The Create Work Breakdown Structure process begins after a process manager has collected requirements and defined scope.
  • HOW Create Work Breakdown Structure Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Scope management plan
  • Project scope statement
  • Requirements documentation
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organizational process assets
  • Decomposition
  • Expert judgment
  • Scope baseline
  • Project document updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.4, p. 125.

Tips on Create Work Breakdown Structure

  • Missing WBS. Without WBS a project manager cannot complete the planning processes of the project. Therefore, if the exam poses a scenario where the WBS is missing and asks what you should do, you must stop and create the WBS. This is the only exception to the general rule that it is acceptable to continue with the project and develop something in the interim to help a project keep going if something is missing.

Keywords for Create Work Breakdown Structure

  • Decomposition. A technique used for dividing and subdividing the project scope and project deliverables into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Work Breakdown Structure – WBS. Deliverable-oriented grouping of the project elements that organizes and defines the total scope of the project: work not in WBS is not in scope.
  • Work Breakdown Structure Templates. A work breakdown structure from a previous project with similar deliverables and project life cycle.

5. Validate Scope

Image titled Project Scope Management Monitoring Controlling Processes Tipsographic

Basics of Validate Scope

  • WHAT Validate Scope Is. A project manager implements the Validate Scope process to obtain written confirmation—formal sign-off—from all of the stakeholders that the deliverables match the requirements and the Project Management plan—formal acceptance.
  • WHY Validate Scope Is Important. The Validate Scope process formalizes the acceptance of the project scope by the stakeholders.
  • WHEN Validate Scope Is Executed. Validate Scope is usually the last Scope Management process that a project manager does in a project, as the product is delivered. Moreover, a project manager validates scope with the customer also at the end of each project phase, or whenever he/she needs the formal acceptance of any deliverable.
  • HOW Validate Scope Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Project management plan
  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix
  • Verified deliverables
  • Work performance data
  • Inspection
  • Group decision-making techniques
  • Accepted deliverables
  • Change requests
  • Work performance information
  • Project documents updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.5, p. 133.

Tips on Validate Scope

  • Validate Scope Process. A project manager should perform the Validate Scope process for every project deliverable, or a group of deliverables, presented to the customer or sponsor.

6. Control Scope

Basics of Validate Scope

  • WHAT Control Scope Is. As a result of the Control Scope process, a project manager updates the scope, plan, baseline, and WBS info with any approved and documented modification to the project and product scope.
  • WHY Control Scope Is Important. The Control Scope process prevents uncontrolled changes to the project scope, i.e. scope creep, by measuring and assessing work performance data against the scope baseline.
  • WHEN Control Scope Is Executed. A project manager performs Control Scope anytime scope changes are requested since the scope baseline has been created.
  • HOW Control Scope Operates.
Inputs Tools and techniques Outputs
  • Project management plan
  • Requirements documentation
  • Requirements traceability matrix
  • Work performance data
  • Organizational process assets
  • Variance analysis
  • Work performance information
  • Change requests
  • Project management plan updates
  • Project documents updates
  • Organizational process assets updates

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 5th ed., Chapter 5, section 5.6, p. 136.

Tips on Control Scope

  • Project Management Plan. If the exam enlists the Project Management plan as an input into a process, it implies that more than one subsidiary plan is used in this process.
  • Variance Analysis. Whenever the exam mentions variance analysis as a tool in a process, you should also think about the corresponding baseline that is being checked for the variance.

Keywords for Control Scope

  • Performance Reports. Documents that provide organized and summarized work performance, earned value management parameters and calculations, and analyses of project work progress work status.
  • Scope Change Control System. Procedures by which project scope may be changed: paperwork, tracking systems and approval levels necessary for authorization.
  • Scope Changes. Any modification to the agreed-upon project scope as defined by the approved WBS. Often require changes to cost, time, quality, or other project objectives.
  • Corrective Action. Anything done to bring expected future project performance into line with the project plan.
  • Adjusted Baseline. The nature of the change may require that the corresponding baseline document be revised and reissued to reflect the approved change & form the new baseline for future changes.
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