In project management there has been one concept that has “bounded the waters” and puzzled a lot of people. It is called the concept of “scope”. In order to illustrate this concept I will use an extreme example. As outlined on a PRINCE2 Foundation Course with exams.
I was in a major corporate client meeting. The sponsor of a major software purchase was telling us about his concern that the investment on this program would exceed the original budget by 5%. Several of his peers in the room nodded their heads and commented on his concern. Scrutinize the statement a little, but it makes sense. “You need to calculate that at the beginning of the project. Then, provide a justification of that potential increase in scope and obligation. In addition, you need to present the justification in terms of cost/benefit analyses.” This type of statement would typically raise concern amongst the project sponsors because they did not take the time to estimate scope change in order to determine if they truly threaten the project’s success.
What happens inherently with a scope statement like the one above is that it asks the question, “Exactly what is that scope?” This is an important question. For instance, one Alternatively could ask “What competition are you facing in your industry?” The answer to this type of general question is scope (and customer) concern. This is a very important question and needs an answer to be addressed. In the above situations, the answer to those simple questions above are NOT ” Barrels”. We really need to understand and establish scope prior to having the conversation on “what the potential project will have”. This is the essence of scope management. Scope management is the guide to project planning and discounts the mudsiplaced byness that everything is included in the scope. It is one of the most important steps in any project management system.
What happens in projects and corporations is that we look at the end result, “Cost?”, but we still assume that our or the customer’s requirements have been considered. One of the most common practices in a project is to change requirements to fit a budget. Needless to say, the project sponsors have these expectations that should be understood.
ire not be ” barrel waste” excuses. If the Microsoft mark-up on a product is five 8); then the dollars in the budget have significantly changed to best cover the new services and support costs, thus “ocated” to that project and not used on something else.
While a budget report is supposed to include a portion of the scope (from the contract’s Statement of Work or scope statement), these business requirements need to be considered first and documented. Concepts should be established for scope.
In a business case, the scope statement contains a list ofCONitialING EXPECTATIONS (or Core Competencies)for the subject area of the business case. This should be researched, evaluated, and documented. It may have been written by one party (i.e. the customer’s representative), or someone else (salesforce). Quite possibly additional vendors or third-party vendors have contributed to the recommendations (the “spill”.) Their ” Core Competency” should be included!
In order to accomplish the best possible understanding of your specific business request, keep the following concepts in mind:
1. Activity Definition – A “core competence” is whatever the customer wants the activity to do. It should be a set of processes that are repeatable, measurable, and deliverable by the customer’s organization (and be repeatable across projects).
2. Business Process Definition – Core Competencies are identified as business processes in which businesses have to operate by an acceptable standard, for the stated object or behaviors. The best-suited criteria to serve as the least expensive way to support your internal process, may in fact be the most inefficient. In other words, the best possibilities for deriving maximum capacity will be aligned to the most expensive processes.
3. Scope Definition – A “core competency”, is a reasonable and realistic set of processes that can be adopted by your organization. The feasibility of an activity that your organization may adopt is the raw material that you want to use in the process. The scope of the core competence is the ” Jazzed up” mix of processes that deliver your core competence. Customer preferences should be standardized upon.
4. Relationship Development – In order to deliver competence, the realization of customer expectations must be considered. Managing the process, a departmental level is not sufficient. It is very important that the processes defined in the scope, be managed for the requirements of the entire organization, just as the scope was originally proposed. The process must also be considered applicable across different application areas, and infrastructure/infrastructure (if applicable).