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How to determine, document, and communicate your project scope

Moira Alexander | Nov. 26, 2017
Determining, documenting and sharing a project’s scope can be complicated and stressful. Here are a couple of business leaders willing to share how they go about it and what they found to be successful.

When it comes to determining project scope, there are key elements, but also some additional things to factor in that just might make every stakeholder’s life much simpler and help avoid scope creep. First, in the planning stage develop a scope management plan, that outlines exactly how the scope of the project will be defined, verified and managed. Then make sure you have a full understanding of stakeholder’s true needs and expectations, especially in relation to your company’s available resources, limitations, strengths, processes, technology/tools, and culture. Often, it’s in not allocating ample time, and attention within this step that scope creep becomes a bitter reality later on.

At web and native app development company The Silverlogic, COO Cristina Escalante shares some of the things they take into consideration when determining the scope for projects. Escalante says, “our clients are mostly small businesses, startups, and enterprises who want a minimal viable product (MVP) created from scratch, often with a limited budget. As you can imagine, knowing when to say "stop" is the difference between an MVP and a full-fledged app. We spend time with the stakeholders to determine what problems they want to solve, write user stories for the major and minor features of the MVP. In addition, we make some preliminary wireframes on paper and software like Sketch or WireframeSketcher.”

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Frank Garofalo, principal consultant at Garofalo Studios, a user experience and interactive strategy consultancy firm says, in terms of elements and factors in determining scope “we have embraced an agile/scrum project methodology, which has allowed us to define key objectives while providing flexibility to be nimble to adapt to changing business needs.”

Companies are realizing the benefits of using the most relevant methodologies like Agile for their projects and embracing software to gather and frame requirements, document, store and share project scope information easily and quickly with multiple stakeholders. These are instruments that help make lighter work of a difficult task.

How to document and communicate project scope with all stakeholders

Generally, scope documentation serves the purpose of allowing all project participants and stakeholders anytime access to a living document they can refer to at all times for guidance, reduces version control issues and potential confusion around the client and team requirements, expectations, available resources, timelines, quality aspects and other pertinent details.

Escalante tells CIO when it comes to documenting and sharing scope with stakeholders, “we share these stories and wireframes with the stakeholders and the development team using Google Sheets and InVision.” She says after this “the dev team gives feedback on what user stories should be split or merged, and point out any gaps in overall flow or logic, and the stakeholders put the stories in priority order.” Following a few iterations, “the more important stories and the often forgotten, yet required stories, float to the top.”


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