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As Benjamin Franklin noted, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." In the world of strategic project management, the truth of these words is crystal clear. Well-defined Project Scope is a vital foundation for any enterprise—be it launching a new product line, implementing a digital transformation, or revamping operational efficiency. It separates successful endeavors from costly marathons, ensuring each project is equipped with the vision, roadmaps, and boundaries it needs to succeed.




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Flevy Management Insights: Project Scope


As Benjamin Franklin noted, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." In the world of strategic project management, the truth of these words is crystal clear. Well-defined Project Scope is a vital foundation for any enterprise—be it launching a new product line, implementing a digital transformation, or revamping operational efficiency. It separates successful endeavors from costly marathons, ensuring each project is equipped with the vision, roadmaps, and boundaries it needs to succeed.

Project Scope refers to the detailed set of deliverables or features of a project. These deliverables are derived from a project’s requirements. Project Scope is the common understanding among stakeholders about what goes into a project and what does not. Your Project Scope needs to be accurate, manageable, and transparent—it defines what’s expected and how it's expected, and can minimize scope creep, increase stakeholder satisfaction, and improve project delivery efficiency.

The Integral Role of Project Scope in Strategic Management

McKinsey’s report on executing complex programs revealed that 50% of large IT projects run 45% over budget while delivering 56% less value. In the context of these overwhelming odds, Project Scope plays dual roles: a robust defense against scope creep and other disruptive forces, and a sharp, precise tool to carve out the project's path towards its objectives.

Creating the Project Scope: Best Practices

Keeping Project Scope On Track

Accenture's project management study demonstrates that the cause of project failure in 48% of instances is scope creep. Use the following methods to control scope during the execution of projects:

  1. Effective Change Management: EY suggests the best way to manage scope changes is by implementing a robust change management process that assesses, approves or rejects, documents, and communicates changes effectively.
  2. Periodic Scope Verification: Bain and Company propose regular scope reviews to ensure alignment with goals and early detection of deviations.
  3. Strong Governance: A Harvard Business Review study shows projects led by an engaged sponsor are 3.5 times more likely to succeed. Therefore, it is essential to have active leadership invested in the project governance.

Reviving a Derailed Project

If your project does wander off course—embrace transparency, assess the situation, re-define the Project Scope, and implement it with renewed focus. Gartner’s research shows that using crisis as an opportunity can lead to future-proofing, innovative solutions, and long-term value creation.

In the rapidly evolving corporate landscape, the ability to manage a well-defined Project Scope is no longer an optional luxury but rather an essential strategic tool. It navigates challenges, avoids scope creep, guides the project team, and quite literally, gets the project from Point A to Point B. So, equip your project teams with a robust Project Scope—it might just be the most strategic decision you will make.

For effective implementation, take a look at these Project Scope best practices:


Explore related management topics: Digital Transformation Change Management Project Management Value Creation Best Practices Consulting Proposals Proposal Template PMP




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