What methods & techniques are used in Project Scoping?


One of my blog reader asked me following question – “identify the principles, methods and techniques used for scoping a project?” In reply I wrote a mail explaining all the methods & techniques that is generally practiced for scoping of project. I am sharing the mail content here for everyone’s benefit.

Scoping a project involves two step process – gathering requirements & defining the scope with collected information.
Before I mention about the principles, methods & techniques for scoping, let me present some of my views about Scoping in Project:
  • Project Scope should cover everything that satisfies the customer need
  • Arriving final approved scope is very challenging task among all the activities in Project Management
  • Defining & Managing Scope is the backbone for Project Management
  • It is not a single person’s activity & it involves a group of people mainly project stakeholders. Lot of group interactions will be carried out during the requirement gathering & defining scope
  • Scoping is so vital which affects all other important factors in Project like schedule (hence delivery), cost, resources and risks
  • Generally high level of scope is available as part of Project Charter
  • Enough time need to be given to prepare & review for project scope before approval. Also any scope change after approval is going to affect the Project’s outcome
  • It is not necessary that entire project scope should be defined & available at the start of a project. It is progressively elaborated.
Requirements gathering uses various elicitation (data gathering) techniques to document exact need of the customer. Some of the group elicitation techniques are:
1. Facilitated workshops – An elicitation technique using focused sessions that bring key cross-functional stakeholders together to define product requirements
2. Focus groups – An elicitation technique that brings together pre-qualified stakeholders and subject matter experts to learn about their expectations and attitudes about a proposed product, service, or result
3. Group creativity techniques – Techniques like Brainstorming, nominal group technique, mind-mapping, affinity diagram, Multicriteria decision analysis are used to gather the requirements & define the scope
4. Group decision-making techniques – Decision on gathered information arrived using analytic hierarchy process, voting/democratic methods. Final decision will be arrived by any one of the below methods – unanimity, majority, plurality, dictatorship.
Inputs from subject matter experts(SME) plays a major role in the requirements gathering. Here are some techniques that involves SME’s:
1. Expert judgment – Judgment provided based upon expertise in an application area, knowledge area, discipline, industry, etc., as appropriate for the project scoping.
2. Interviews – A formal or informal approach to elicit information from stakeholders by talking to them directly. Different question types (like open-ended, close-ended, etc) are used to gather the requirements
3. Questionnaires and surveys – Written sets of questions designed to quickly accumulate information from a large number of respondents
Other methods to scope the project is to perform analysis on available information.
1. Document analysis – An elicitation technique that analyzes existing documentation and identifies information relevant to the requirements
2. Product analysis – For projects that have a product as a deliverable, it is a tool to define scope that generally means asking questions about a product and forming answers to describe the use, characteristics, and other the relevant aspects of what is going to be manufactured
3. Alternatives generation – A technique used to develop as many potential options as possible in order to identify different approaches.
4. Context diagrams – A visual depiction of the product scope showing a business system (process, equipment, computer system, etc.), and how people and other systems (actors) interact with it
Prototyping is creating models of deliverables help in understanding the need & articulate the requirements. Sometimes requirements gathering is performed by observation of tasks being carried out & noting down the processes, pain points and exact user steps
Here are the pointers for further reading:
Requirement Elicitation Techniques – http://www.umsl.edu/~ycnx6/  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Ten Requirements Gathering Techniques – http://tynerblain.com/blog/2006/11/21/ten-requirements-gathering-techniques/  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Elicitation Techniques for Processes, Rules, and Requirements – http://tynerblain.com/blog/2007/09/13/elicitation-techniques-2/  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Analytic Hierarchy Process – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_hierarchy_process  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Of course you need to go through PMBOK 5th Edition as reference to get universal definitions.

Project Information Cycle


Project information collection & dissemination is a cyclic process & vital one for project success. I collected few points here about project information cycle & thought it is worth sharing with all of you:

•Data collection for a project starts very early in project life cycle

•Lot of information collected in projects from various sources within and outside the project

•Data collection is a continuous process throughout the project life cycle

•Collecting & organizing data and transforming them as information (i.e. project performance) helps in decision making & effective communication

•Data/information can be a written document or verbal statements

•Organizational process assets is repository of information for previously executed projects & provide valuable inputs to other projects

Project Information Cycle

Due to confusion over terms like data & information, PMBOK came up with crystal clear definitions for each of those terms.

•Work Performance Data – data collected on day-to-day basis in project work execution (Example – % of work completed, # of defects)

•Work Performance Information – data collected from controlling processes that are used to analyze the project performance (Example – status of deliverables)

•Work Performance Report – way of representing the project work performance information that delivers intelligence for decision making (Example – status report, project dashboard)

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Process – Report Performance – Mind Map


Performance reports are key output for a project in which periodic collection and analysis of expected Vs. actual data is conducted. Report performance is used to communicate the project progress throughout the entire project life cycle to ensure the information needs of project stakeholders are met. Report performance is having tight bonding with Integration Knowledge Area to make sure project is moving in a direction towards achieving its goals.

Develop Project Management Plan  –> Project Management Plan –-> Input to Report Performance

Direct and Manage Project Execution –-> Work Performance Information –-> Input to Report Performance

Monitor and Control Project Work <— Performance Reports <— Output from Report Performance

Perform Integrated Change Control <— Change Requests <— Output from Report Performance

Control scope, cost, schedule – all will give work performance measurements as inputs to performance report. Also, performance reports are important input in managing project team & distributing information regarding project progress. Performance reports vary the level of its detail based on the audience from a simple status report to more elaborate reports with forecasts and risks for upper management.

Report performance is part of Communications Knowledge Area. As usual, I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

Report Performance

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Process – Administer Procurements – Mind Map


Administer procurement is one of the important process in Procurement Knowledge Area as it is the one which is responsible in maintaining the interfaces between seller and buyer & ensures work performance of the seller is as expected.

Below is the Mind Map of Administer Procurements process. As usual, I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

Administer Procurements

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Process – Perform Quality Control – Mind Map


Quality control – deals with correctness of the deliverable & meeting the quality requirements specified for the deliverable in project quality standards.

Below is the Mind Map of Perform Quality Control process. As usual, I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

Perform Quality Control

 

Inset image of Seven Quality Control Tools

Quality_Control_Tools

Plan Procurement Management – Types of Contracts – Mind Map


Procurement management is one of the toughest Knowledge Area for a Product Development Manager like me. This is due to the fact that I don’t deal with contracts so often. I tried reading lot of material & went through many articles regarding contractual agreements before I can really understand it some extent. In this Mind Map, I put general information about commonly used contract types.

Contract Types

Contract Types

I hope this will help you in preparing your PMP exams.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Process – Verify Scope


Scope verification is a formal process for deliverable acceptance. This process comes under Scope Management Knowledge Area. There is a bit of difference between Scope verification and Quality Control process.

Scope verification – deals with acceptance of deliverable

Quality control – deals with correctness of the deliverable & meeting the quality requirements specified for the deliverable.

Generally, Quality control is performed before scope verification or can be in parallel with scope verification.

Below is the Mind Map of Verify scope process. I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

Verify Scope - Scope Management Knowledge Area - Monitoring & Controlling Process Group

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.