Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Executing Projects/Project Execution and Control/Manage Changes to Project Scope

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Scope verification: Manage Changes to Project Scope

(technical definition "scope": the combination of all project goals and tasks, and the work required to accomplish them; the scope translates into the timeline and budget).

Manage Project Scope During Project Planning, the Project Manager, through regular communication with the Representatives of the beneficiaries and Project Sponsor, refined the Project Scope to clearly define the content of the deliverables to be produced. It is good if the process to be used to document changes to the Project Scope is included in the Project Plan. Otherwise it has to be defined during the implementation stage. Even if a scope change is perceived to be very small, exercising the change process ensures that all parties agree to the change and understand its potential impact. Following the process each and every time scope change occurs will minimize confusion as to what actually constitutes a change. Additionally, instituting the process early will test its effectiveness, get the Beneficiaries and Project Sponsor accustomed to the way change will be managed throughout the remainder of the project, and help them understand their roles as they relate to change.

Any deviation to what appears in the scope document is considered change and must be handled using the change control process.

Sometimes, despite the best effort of the Project Manager to carefully document what is in and outside of scope, there is disagreement between the Project Manager and Beneficiaries Representative or Project Sponsor regarding whether something is a change. When conflicts occur, the Project Manager and appropriate beneficiaries must be willing to discuss their differences of opinion and reach a compromise. If a compromise cannot be reached, it may be necessary to escalate the issue to a higher level of management. Once the Project Manager, the Project Sponsor, and the appropriate Beneficiary Representative agree that scope change is occurring, they all must take the time to thoroughly evaluate the change. In order to effectively evaluate change, the Project Manager must forecast the impact of the change on the remaining three “quadruple constraints”: Cost, Schedule and Quality. Equipped with this information, the Project Manager and Project Sponsor will be able to determine if implementing the proposed change would be beneficial.

The Project Manager must incorporate any agreed-upon changes or addenda into the deliverables produced during Project Initiation and Project Planning. This ensures that all project deliverables are in line with the revised Project Scope. Any lessons learned from scope change control should be documented and included in the project repository for later use by the current project and any other projects to be performed by the organization.

Throughout Project Execution and Control, continuous communication between the Project Manager, Project Sponsor, and Beneficiary Representative is crucial in managing scope.

Template: Project Issues Log Template; Project Change Request