Project Scope Statement: Definition & Components

Project Scope Statement: Definition & Components
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  • 0:04 What is a Project…
  • 1:13 Aspects of Project…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Carl Lovell, PMP

Carl has taught grad-level college Project Management and Quality. He holds a Masters degree in Business and is a certified Project Management Professional.

As a project moves from the initiating process to the planning process, one of the key priorities is to develop a clear and detailed project scope statement. In this lesson, you will learn what should be included in a scope statement.

Project Scope Statement

You have been assigned a small project and given the approved project charter, now what? It's a small project, so you think - should I just get it done or is there something else I should be doing? Here is a free piece of wisdom for projects and for life - If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Now that you have let that wisdom settle in, let's start the project by developing a project scope statement. In developing the project scope statement, you will continue to flesh out the information provided in the project charter. As input, you will use the documented project charter and the input used in developing the charter: project statement of work, business case, agreements, environmental factors and organizational process assets.

The project scope statement is a detailed description of the project or product scope description, the acceptance criteria, deliverables, any project exclusions, constraints and assumptions. The degree and level of detail can help determine how well the project team can control the project scope. At the same time, development of the project scope statement is a team activity, and the entire team's expert judgment should be leveraged.

Aspects of Project Scope Statements

Project or Product Scope Description

Let's first look at project or product scope description. The project scope statement progressively elaborates the characteristics of the product, project or results. Progressive elaboration is an important concept to understand as your project moves through the execution process. As you work through the project execution, additional characteristics or requirements will evolve to improve the deliverable either from the project team or customer - this is progressive elaboration. The key is to document the changes in the scope description through the project change control process.

Acceptance Criteria

Now let's look at acceptance criteria. The acceptance criteria are the key attributes that the product or project must meet to be accepted by the customer. The level of technical complexity of the product or project will determine the criteria documented. The criteria may include esthetics, operating speed, overall dimensional measurements and operational characteristics.

Clearly articulating the acceptance criteria during the planning process will help to increase the level of customer satisfaction and prevent disputes during the project closing process. Close coordination with the project customer and stakeholders is critical when documenting the acceptance criteria


Now let's look at deliverables. While documenting the deliverables, or presentable aspects of the project, may seem simple, you need to work to manage customer and stakeholder expectations. While in a simple project there may be one product or project deliverable, in a more complex project there may be inner project deliverables such as product prototypes.

In addition to the primary deliverable, there will be ancillary deliverables that need to be clarified with the project customer and sponsors. Ancillary deliverables may include project progress reports and what those reports will contain. When a new product is being developed, deliverables for product documentation and user manuals may be included. These deliverables need to be delineated and the acceptance criteria documented.

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