The Scope of Work Outline is used by companies to define and track the business needs of a given project. The Scope of Work Outline provides information on what is to be specifically included and excluded for completion of the project and is customizable
The Scope of Work Outline is used by companies to define and track the business needs of a given project. The Scope of Work Outline provides information on what is to be specifically included and excluded for completion of the project and is customizable to fit your company’s specific usage. Fundamentally, a scope of work is the statement about what you will do. Often, the scope of work includes a budget or expected level of effort. The scope of work sets the bounds on what will be included in the project, and importantly what will not be included in the project.
A scope of work refers to documents that describe the project objective and specify the activities and materials that are needed to complete that objective. If you are bidding a small project (replacing a broken water heater, for example), the scope of work may be simply a one-page written document. Larger projects will require a larger and longer scope of work. If plans or drawings are necessary, they too become part of the scope. The first thing you should do when developing a written scope of work is to define the project in broad terms.
Without the Scope of Work, a project has no existence. Every business that undertakes a project has to create a Scope of Work in order for the various demands, needs and conditions to be outlined. It is a rule book for the entire team of stakeholders, including the project manager and project sponsor, and guides the processes and outcome of the project. Anything that is not mentioned in the SOW is outside the scope of the project and not to be followed. The Scope of Work is drafted by the project manager. It is a confusing and tedious procedure and hence a specific format has to be adhered to by which the Scope Statement of Work may be created. This guide outlines the steps involved in creating a SOW.
Scopes of work take many shapes, most of them have common elements:
Project Name and justification
How and why your project came to be, the business need(s) it addresses, the scope of work to be performed, and how it will affect and be affected by other related activities. Product scope description: The features and functions of the products, services, and/or results your project will produce. Objectives: The products, services, and/or results your project will produce (also referred to as deliverables)
Timelines will vary widely depending on the size of the project and the number of constituents. However, we find it helpful to prepare a generalized schedule as a starting point for discussion with the client. This schedule can typically be a simple Excel chart with five or six key milestones that correspond to key tasks in your scope of work. This helps you define a general schedule while allowing you to defer building a detailed schedule until you have more information about the project.
This is probably the first section that most people will turn to when looking at a scope of work. The investment budget section typically reduces the entire scope of work to an easily readable chart that includes each of the steps
and the amount of time involved. In many cases, your budget will be higher than what your sponsor expects. Separate the optional tasks from the required tasks. You can do this easily by creating two budget sections: core project budget and optional project budget. This way, the project sponsor or client can immediately identify which aspects of the project can be moved into a later phase without disrupting the entire project.
The objectives always indicate why the project is initiated, to begin with. There is always a motive behind the investment of funds and time to start a project. Is it a product or a service? What are its expectations? Why does a business need to carry out this project? The objectives answer the reasoning part of ‘WHY’ a project is undertaken.
Work is decomposed into do-able tasks called work packages. These work packages have definite outlines and are of short duration each. Many work packages put together forms the Work of a phase or the project as a whole. The ‘results’ of work packages is technically called the deliverables. In any given phase, when there is work to be done, the deliverables that are outlined determine the way the work packages are carried out.
Include the name and contacts of the project sponsor for whom you are preparing the scope of work as well as your own name and contact information.
If you work in a larger organization that has a well-defined project management process, you may have little choice about which methodology your organization will use. However, for many project managers in web application projects, little thought is given to which, if any, methodology will be used. You may also want to include:
Product acceptance criteria:
– The process and criteria for accepting completed products, services, or results
– Constraints: Restrictions that limit what you can achieve, how and when you can achieve it, and how much achieving it can cost
– Assumptions: Statements about how you will address uncertain information as you conceive, plan, and perform your project
The knowledge area of Scope Management is all about making sure that the project includes only the work required to complete the project successfully. To be effective at scope management, you must learn to control what is and what is not in the scope of the project. Below are some of the best practices for successful scope management.
The ability to define and then effectively control the scope of a project depends a lot on the goals and requirements of the project. For this reason, you need to gather the necessary information up front, before you ever start the project. By clearly understanding the needs of the stakeholders and the capabilities and constraints of your resources, you have a higher chance to succeed.
The easiest way to collect the project requirements is to perform interviews with the key stakeholders. Ask questions about their views of the finished product, the deliverables they expect to receive, and the schedule of the project. Once you have the information you need, you may want to create a Scope Management Plan to define the processes that will be followed in defining scope, documenting scope, verifying and accepting scope, and managing change requests.
The scope of a project typically consists of a set of deliverables, an assigned budget, and an expected closure time. The previously collected project requirements will help you define the scope. Be sure to write down exactly what the project will entail and what it will not entail. Any amount of variation in the scope of the project can affect the project schedule, budget, and ultimately the success of the project. Getting a clear and concise definition of the scope will help you manage changes as they occur.
With a clear scope definition, you can simply ask the question, “Does this change fall within the scope of the project?” If the answer is yes, then vet and approve the change. If the answer is no, then put a pin it and save it for another time or project. Now that the Scope has been clearly defined and the customer has formally accepted the scope of the project, it is time to actually manage and control the scope to avoid scope creep. cope creep refers to the incremental expansion of the scope of the project, which may include and introduce more requirements that may not have been a part of the initial planning phases, but add costs and time to the original project.
Typically, the scope increase consists of either new products or new features of already approved product designs, without corresponding increases in resources, schedule, or budget. As a result, the project team risks drifting away from its original purpose and scope into unplanned additions. As the scope of a project grows, more tasks must be completed within the budget and schedule originally designed for a smaller set of tasks. Accordingly, scope creep can result in a project team overrunning its original budget and schedule.
To effectively monitor and control the scope of the project, make sure you have an established process for managing change requests. Any and all requests should be vetted and approved before they get introduced into the project. The budget and schedule of the project should also be altered to reflect the new changes. These changes should get a formal signoff from the customer or key stakeholder before proceeding. It is important that you closely monitor and control the scope to avoid disgruntled customers, higher than expected costs, and projects that aren’t completed on time.
Scope creep can be a result of:
– disingenuous customer with a determined “value for free” policy
– poor change control
– lack of proper initial identification of what is required to bring about the project objectives
– weak project manager or executive sponsor
– poor communication between parties
In software construction projects scope creep usually takes a form of increasing number of requested features to be built into a product. Extra features go beyond the basic function of the product and so can result in over-complication rather than simple design. Viewed over a longer time period, extra or unnecessary features seem to creep into the system, beyond the initial goals. The most common cause of feature creep is the desire to provide the consumer with a more useful or desirable product, in order to increase sales or distribution. However, once the product reaches the point at which it does everything that it is designed to do, the manufacturer is left with the choice of adding unneeded functions, sometimes at the cost of efficiency, or sticking with the old version, at the cost of a perceived lack of improvement.
The farther into the future you try to look, the less certain your predictions can be. However, your Scope Statement represents your project commitments based on what you know today and expect to be true in the future. If and when situations change, you have to assess the effect of the changes on all aspects of your project and propose the necessary changes to your Scope Statement. Your project’s requesters always have the option of either accepting your proposed changes (allowing the project to continue) or canceling your project.
By this stage in your negotiations you should have a good general sense of what problem the client faces and whether you are a good fit to help address it. You should have all the tools necessary to write a great proposal. The next stage in the process—discovery and requirements—is to detail all of the specific features and functions of the project.