The 3 Things You Must Do Before Writing Project Scope

writing project scope

It is a sad reality that the majority of projects fail and often it is because writing the project scope was too vague or not controlled. If you look at any project that is late for a long time, chances are the scope was changed at some point.

One of the keys to successful project delivery is to spend the time upfront planning and making sure the scope is correct.

I hope you have had the chance to watch the funny video on when project scope goes wrong. If not here is the link.

The Perfect Time To Write The Project Scope

One of the biggest mistakes most unsuccessful projects make is to write the scope at the start of the project. I have lost count with how many times I have been given projects that have not yet started but has the scope already written. Or even worse they do not have the scope written at all.

You do not write the scope at the very start of the project. The scope should be written as part of the business case. It is important first to understand why the project is needed and what will be built before confirming the scope. By doing it, this way will ensure that the scope is likely to be achieved and therefore increase the chance of the project being successful.

One mistake most unsuccessful projects make is to write the scope at the start of the project. Click To Tweet

The 3 Things You Must Do Before Writing Project Scope

Before writing the project scope, there are three things you must do first. These are:

  • The Need
  • The Benefit
  • The Solution

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The Need

The first thing to include in your business case is to explain why you need this project. You want to clearly explain the problem that the project will solve and explain what the successful outcome will be. This is the need of the project, and if you have been following my 8 step process to successful project delivery, you can lift this detail straight from your project proposal.

The Benefit

The next stage is to detail the benefits you will achieve after delivering the project. This is both the hard benefits (real money saved or made) and the soft benefits (for example improved customer perception). Here you are demonstrating the justification for why the project is important and worth doing. Ultimately the purpose is having someone saying yes that project is worth spending money on.

The Solution

After having established why the project is needed and the benefits it will deliver, you need to explain clearly what to do as part of the project. Are you going to build something? Change a process? Design some new software? You need to accomplish this before writing the scope. Without it, you increase the chance your project not delivering on the promised scope. How can you write what the project will deliver if you do not know what the solution is? It would be like trying to build a house without working out how many bedrooms you need. How will you know how big to make the foundations?

With these written, you can now write your project scope. In the next post, I will show you how to write a project scope that will increase the chance of your project being successful.