management for an information management project and want some
practical suggestions to ensure rapid project delivery?
The objective of project scope management is to ensure that a project delivers
everything that is “in scope” and does not deliver
things that are “out of scope”.
easy--Just don’t build things that are out of scope!
all wish it were that easy. Information management project
are comprised of highly skilled individuals who frequently see things
that they think should be improved. These well-intentioned “additions”
can quickly add up in cost and time.
What do we
need to manage scope?
business case is the starting point. It lists project
objectives and scope. Each objective should also identify a
Suppose one project objective is stated as
“improve performance”, and a measurement is stated, as “ad-hoc report
requests must be satisfied within 1 minute of submission instead of the
current 5 minutes”.
The objective might be a little vague but we know how it’s going to be
measured so we are OK.
What can go wrong?
we are loading the data mart, which will satisfy the ad-hoc request. We
know the load will finish at 5:00 AM and that the users will never use
it before 8:00 AM. We also know it will return results within
Now imagine we have an innovative developer who
decides to improve the load performance so that the load will finish at
1:00 AM. He develops temporary database structures, ETL
and other code. Sure enough, the load does finish at 1:00 AM. Awesome!
this a good idea? Perhaps, but we need to look at the bigger
objective was to improve reporting performance and the code already did
that—The extra code that was developed to improve load performance was
not really needed.
It has introduced new routines that need to be
maintained, new processes that need operational instructions, new data
base structures that may need additional DBA support and new
functionality that should be tested. (Which involves creating test
cases, test data and test scripts).
The developers thinks they
have an excellent solution but the project bears the cost of added
scope. It does not take too many of these great ideas to
add up to
How do we
Project scope management is a key component of project management. The
following items should be considered:
too difficult, what else do we need?
- The business case needs to clearly state
- Each objective must define a measurement that
will ensure the objective has been achieved;
- Each requirement needs to tie back to a
business case objective;
- Each requirement must specify acceptance
- Upon approval of the requirements
specification, no requirement should be changed without an approved
if it’s just a wording clarification;
- Each requirement must be traced thru the
architecture and design, development and test phase to ensure that:
- A design specification satisfies the
- A test case specification tests the
management requires attention to detail. We know that we should not
change requirements without an approved change request but what about other project
Once project documentation is approved, it should not be changed
without an approved change request.
a developer finds issues with a design specification, a change request
is required before it can be updated. It may be a defect in the design
specification or it may be a defect in the requirement—This can only be
determined thru impact
- If the design specification needs to be
changed, then possibly a new integration test case and test data are
How do we
ensure we don’t deliver more than what’s in scope?
- It we have a requirement defect, then
perhaps we also need to change the quality assurance test
cases and test data.
- A good requirements
traceability process will help ensure that we delivery
everything that was in scope;
- A solid change
management process should ensure we do not “add” things
that increase scope; and
management and good architecture and design reviews, will
help ensure we do not deliver a lot of “nice to have” things that will
Project scope management requires constant focus on project objectives,
sound change management and strong technical management.
Treat any request for change, or ideas for improvement, as potential