PMP Certification: Identifying the Scope of a Project
Starting with the project's results is the best route to understanding the project's scope. The first order of business is to identify your customer and sponsor definitions of a successful project. You'll see how to make the definition of success measurable and quantifiable. By being able to define what makes your project successful, you figure out how to
- Manage expectations for customers and sponsors
- Set the appropriate criteria for project acceptance
- Determine how the project should be measured
You'll also determine
- Key milestones: set, track, and control
- Quality standards you must satisfy
The success of your project requires setting, managing, and meeting or exceeding customer expectations. If you meet or exceed their expectations, your customers will be satisfied and happy. Happy customers are a key element in determining the success of your project.
Situational exam questions feature the scenario of an unsatisfied customer. The question asks:
What could the project manager have done to prevent the situation?
Or two variants:
What can you do to prevent a customer from becoming unsatisfied?
How can you change an unsatisfied customer to a satisfied one?
The correct response is for the project manager to begin by setting customer expectations. You set expectations by clearly defining the scope of the project — that's before the customer has the chance to become unsatisfied. Documenting requirements and having the customer sign off on those requirements round out the answer. The key to understanding unsatisfied customer questions is to recognize how the processes in the given scenario relate to each other (process interactions) and to their results (process outputs). Because each scenario is different, the processes involved vary. Sometimes, it's a scope scenario. But it could involve time, cost, or quality scenarios. Think of a linear process — going forward along the project timeline from the beginning. Determine where the customer became unhappy: at what process interaction or out. Then think about the process steps going backward from the result (or output) to the intermediate results. When you get into this mindset, you'll be able to visualize how to re-create the steps of any process, as well as how to correct or prevent a missed step.
Identifying project stakeholders
A stakeholder is anyone who has a clear stake in the project's success. For example, any individual or organization actively involved in the project — and whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the project's success or failure — counts as a stakeholder. Stakeholders can be internal or external to the performing organization, and all their expectations must be managed. Each stakeholder risks something of value in the project's outcome.
The most important stakeholder is the customer. Internal stakeholders include internal customers, departments, management, employees, and administrators. External stakeholders include customers, suppliers, investors, community groups, and government agencies. Naturally, stakeholders have their own agendas, goals, and priorities.Stakeholder managementis the process of aligning stakeholders with each other and the team.
In a typical project, key stakeholders are the people in the following roles:
- Steering committee: A group of high-level executives from functional company areas (and customer representatives) who provide guidance and overall strategic direction. By contributing their functional expertise, they add strategic input to the project. They can also enlist cooperation from their functional groups, making it possible for a larger part of the organization to have a stake in the project's success.
- Project champion: A senior executive who promotes and defends your project within the larger parent organization.
- Sponsor: The one who provides financial resources and direction. This person must have the management authority to settle any disputes between project staff and functional staff.
- Performing organization: The company or group doing the work.
- Project organization: A group that serves the project and participants. It includes the structure, roles, and responsibilities of the project team, as well as its interfaces to the outside.
- The project organization is not the same thing as a projectized organization. The project organization refers to the project team itself. Projectized refers to a specific model where organizations are structured by projects rather than by functional departments. The project doesn't belong to any department, but to the entire organization.
- Project manager: The person who manages the project daily.
- Customer: The buyer expected to use the product or service that the project creates. In practice, it's anyone who participates in focus groups or has bought the company's (or competitors') products.
- Project team member: Anyone performing work on the project, especially someone who manages (or reports directly to) the project organization; team leaders are the heads of individual groups within the project team. In addition to people loaned from other departments or from resource pools, the team also includes all contractors and consultants.
- Individual contributor: Anyone working on the project without a management role but sharing accountability for achieving results.
- Functional manager: Handles the business and technical management of a functional group — in particular their performance review.
- Project accountant: Provides cost and budget information for the project. Usually this is a member of the accounting department (often on the controller's staff) who can ensure that invoices for project work get paid on time and can provide data for your earned value measurements.
- Project influencer: Is positively or negatively impacted because of the result of the project or potential changes from the project.
- Information sources: Individuals who provide helpful information. They may have special knowledge of the project as a result of their roles in similar projects, or they might be customers of similar products. They may be experts in law or human resources, or in an industry association.
You must ensure that diverse individuals function as a team. You have to coach, lead, and ensure the team's commitment to a common mission for which they are mutually accountable. With functional managers, you'll resolve conflicts between team members; each may have different time priorities, individual objectives and goals, and available resources. Also with functional managers, you'll resolve resource conflicts and negotiate compromises.