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Project Management>Defining the Scope of a project


When you define the scope of a Project, you set the "boundaries” e.g. what is included and not included in a project.


To help you scope the project, you should ask yourself some questions, for example:

  • What is the Project responsible for delivering?
  • What is the Project not going to deliver?
  • What are the main objectives?
  • Why are you doing the project?
  • What needs to change in order to achieve these objectives?


The answers to these questions will help define the scope of the Project.  Knowing what is included and what is excluded is fundamental for planning a Project.


Why a scope definition is important

A major reason for Projects going wrong is a failure to properly define the scope

Defining and agreeing the scope will help you to:

  • Ensure clear project goals and objectives
  • Promote understanding
  • Reduce ambiguities and risks
  • Identify the outcomes you really want
  • Manage expectations
  • Get management and colleagues' commitment
  • Develop quality and evaluation criteria.

Even if you know that the scope is likely to change, it is still important to set out your scope.


It is also essential that you understand the project’s objectives.  Knowing these will enable you to decide what should be included in your scope and (even more importantly) WHAT should be excluded. This helps you plan and estimate the resources you require to do the job. You can also prevent deviations from the scope and ensure the project stays to reach a successful end.

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