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Project and Product Scope Basics for the PMP Certification Exam

To get your PMP Certification, it’s important to know that all projects in the project management world start out by defining what is supposed to be accomplished: the scope. But did you know about the two types of scope?

Product scope. The features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result.

Project scope. The work performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.

When reading exam questions, keep in mind that project scope and product scope look pretty similar. If you read over these two terms quickly, you might misinterpret the question. Take your time on the exam and make sure to read the question right!

Consider a childcare center. Here’s how to identify some of the product and project scope deliverables.

  • Product scope is easy because it comprises all deliverables for the childcare center. Product scope includes tangible things, such as a playground, a food-prep area, furniture, and so forth.

  • Project scope is a little trickier, though, because to identify it, you have to think a bit harder. Consider activities, such as preparing procurement documentation for the general contractor, creating the project management plan and project documents, reporting project status for the childcare center, and so forth.

Here are some common types of project scope:

  • Documentation

  • Testing

  • Training

  • Planning

  • Reporting

  • Collecting requirements

  • Creating project documents and the project management plan

  • Managing risk

  • Managing change

  • Managing the project team, vendors, and other stakeholders

  • All other project management work

Here’s another comparison: Product scope completion is measured against the product requirements. Project scope completion is measured against the project management plan.

Speaking of the project management plan, one of the components in the project management plan is a scope management plan. Because the scope management plan describes how you will plan, manage, and control project and product scope, it is one of the first documents you create. Here is the official definition of the Plan Scope Management process.

Plan Scope Management. The process of creating a scope management plan that documents how the project scope will be defined, validated, and controlled.

Plan Scope Management: Inputs

The primary inputs to consider when developing a scope management plan are the project charter and the project management plan. The project charter contains

  • High-level project description

  • Product characteristics

  • Project statement of work (SOW)

The project management plan is an input to the first planning process in each knowledge area. It provides a framework for planning the project and describes the life cycle for the project. Because the development of the project management plan is iterative, the project management plan is an input to creating the scope management plan — and the scope management plan becomes a component of the project management plan.

The organizational culture, such as whether the organization is very structured or perhaps more agile in its approach to project management will influence scope management planning. Information from past projects as well as policies, procedures, and templates can assist the project manager in developing the scope management plan.

Plan Scope Management: Tools and Techniques

The two techniques used to plan scope management are expert judgment and meetings. Expert judgment can come from team members who understand the scope of the project and how to decompose, validate, and control the scope. Additionally, team members who are experienced with eliciting, documenting, and controlling requirements are helpful in determining how to manage the requirements collection, validation, and control activities on the project.

Meetings should include those stakeholders who will be collecting and managing requirements, validating the scope, and helping control the scope.

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