What Is a Scope Management Plan?

A scope management plan consists of processes and procedures that are in place to guarantee that a project consists of all the necessary tasks for its completion. The primary concern of a scope management plan is to guarantee that the defined scope of the project stems from explained, structured, developed, and verified procedures. Through a scope management plan, project managers and supervisors can specify and construct their project for it to remain within the specified scope. It also helps protect the project managers to carefully and correctly allocate their resources to guarantee that the project finishes on time, within the budget plan, and with the quality that the stakeholders and clients expect. There are instances in which the project management plan includes the scope management plan. As such, it must include the processes that they need to follow to complete the project and how the project team monitors and controls these processes. Understanding the scope management process sets up the project management team for success. The purpose of a scope management plan is to create a project structure by documenting the necessary resources to achieve the project objectives. Scope management plans also reduce the chances of scope creep and avoid common issues, including constantly altering conditions, overspending, wasted resources, and failure to fulfill deadlines.

According to the Project Management Institute and their Pulse of Profession 2020 report, only 46 percent of organizations make project management an integral part of their culture. Despite the statistical data that proves that companies implementing management are more likely to deliver on time and within budget.

Components of a Scope Management Plan

The number one reason that projects fall through is because of scope issues. The scope management plan, as a part of the project management plan, describes the processes of defining, developing, monitoring, controlling, and validating the scope of a project. The primary element of the scope management plan is the project scope statement. Aside from the scope statement, there are other parts of the scope management plan that must be present to create a comprehensive and functioning document. The section below covers the various components of a scope management plan to manage and control the project scope.

Project requirements: The scope identification process starts with identifying the project requirements. Teams must contact stakeholders to identify and prioritize the internal and external requirements the project must meet. Many projects have varying sets of requirements from stakeholders and clients, and it is easy to miss a minor detail that can affect the entire project. As such, constructing and incorporating a tracking matrix through a simple chart that consists of all the requirements from stakeholders as a sign-off sheet for different stages of the project ensures that the stakeholders agree with the progress of the project. A traceability matrix is a tracking tool that guarantees the project team signs off with clients and stakeholders for each phase of the project.Scope statement: The purpose of the scope statement is to define the project. It is the principal component of a scope management plan that helps build a foundation for the document. The scope statement describes the project scope, project deliverables, assumptions, and constraints. It is a written description that identifies the tasks and activities that are part and not part of the project. It is impossible to identify every nook and corner of the scope. However, it is best to take the time and incorporate every information necessary when defining the scope. Work breakdown structure: The work breakdown structure (WBS) represents breaking down the project into smaller groups of tasks. It structures the project using modern project management techniques where each task goes through a detailed analysis according to the project schedule and budget plan. The process is known as earned value management. The budget for each task or activity includes its resources, such as work hours, equipment, tools, machinery, and other costs. The work breakdown structure can be in a simple graph or table chart, structured according to project phases, project deliverables, and subprojects.WBS dictionary: The WBS dictionary is a section that supports the work breakdown structure by providing an itemized list of all the working items the project team uses to accomplish the project. It provides additional information by incorporating identification numbers or codes, work and job descriptions, and the name of the individual, group, or organization responsible for handling the item. These three must always be present along with the WBS. Some documents incorporate other categories, including the start date, work deadlines, due dates, budget segment, client list, milestones, and other required resources to carry out the work item.Roles and responsibilities: The roles and responsibilities section requires each portion of the scope to have a connection to a task lead, whether it is a manager, technical support, junior associate, or any other individual in the project team. Although there are various roles and responsibilities that each person is aware of and responsible for, these can still change throughout the project. It can happen, especially if there is a shift or adjustments in the project scope. Deliverables: Most, if not all, projects have tangible deliverables that the team presents to a client and stakeholders. These include building, computer programs, project reports, progress reports, etc. However, there are instances when project deliverables are intangible, like the changes in production line processes or the redesigns of a particular product. Deliverables represent the items that the project team must accomplish as commissioned by the client, and the scope management plan must precisely identify these deliverables. In incorporating the expected deliverables, the occurrence of misunderstandings, conflicts, and miscommunication lessens.Stakeholder acceptance: The acceptance of deliverables is a centralized process of the scope management plan and the scope definition process. The scope management plan must identify the deliverables and itemize the work breakdown structure, but the entire process does not end there. The stakeholders and client must see and approve the entire process to ensure they are on the same page as the project team for the results. It is a common occurrence for owners to want something initially, but the project team working on the project has to consider different factors and variables that are unknown and changing, thinking about the situations and instances that have yet to take effect. These scenarios are very common and highlight the importance of providing a strong scope definition before the beginning of the project. Scope control: Identifying the scope up to the minute details is a time-consuming process that reaps rewards during the project implementation. However, unless there is a scope control process in place, there will be complications that follow. Scope creep is a challenge that project managers face in different project stages. It happens when there is a slow and steady addition of unauthorized tasks if there is no monitoring and controlling of tasks, which results in bad project issues. Certain procedures must be in place for project managers to inspect and examine the scope of the project regularly. Since there are adjustments and changes to the project scope during its implementation, certain procedures must be in place for efficient communication and a change management plan.

How To Write a Scope Management Plan

The Project Management Institute (PMI) develops the Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK to help project managers and team members to understand and manage projects better. Through the PMBOK, different organizations, industries, and individuals can create and write a comprehensive scope management plan. There are six steps to help you develop a good and solid scope management plan that keeps the project on track.

  • 1. Create the Scope Plan

    The first step in the planning process for projects is to create a scope plan document. The document must include necessary information like the scope statement, a breakdown of project requirements, and the expected deliverables of the project. Aside from these elements, the plan must also incorporate a change control process, which is the process of change requests that can prevent any instances of scope creep. This is the document that the project team refers to in the later portions of the project. Individuals, teams, and organizations require the document for complex projects, especially if stakeholders are requiring them to produce many deliverables or there are a lot of changes in delivering outputs for the project. When creating the plan, make sure that it incorporates expert judgments from cross-functional and executive stakeholders. It is also necessary to hold scope kickoff meetings to guarantee that other managers and team members of the project can contribute to constructing the project scope statement.

  • 2. Organize the Necessary Project Requirements

    In this step of creating the scope management plan, the project team identifies the needs of the stakeholders and clients to meet the project objectives. The primary goal of this step is to gather a comprehensive list of all the requirements from stakeholders to prevent making drastic scope changes along the way. When collecting the project requirements, make sure that there is also a project charter or an elevator pitch that enables stakeholders to understand the project and ensure that it meets their expectations and requirements. The project team can also organize focus groups and workshops and develop prototypes of the deliverables.

  • 3. Define the Scope of the Project

    After collecting all the requirements from the stakeholders, make sure to turn the information into a well-defined and easily understandable scope with detailed product descriptions. The document must clarify the expectations and deliverables of the project for every team member to know what they need to accomplish. When defining the scope of the project, make a product analysis to determine from a different perspective if the output is up to the expectations and standards of stakeholders. The team can also generate different alternatives if risks arise.

  • 4. Generate the Work Breakdown Structure

    The WBS is a procedure that allows the team to break down the project into smaller sets of tasks. It enables all individuals working on the project to have a clear visualization of each component and assess and address the needs. The work breakdown structure creates a hierarchy of tasks that enables members of the team to monitor, control, and schedule the project. When writing the WBS, make sure to decompose the project objective into smaller categories. Another thing to consider is to automate the workflows to streamline the action plans and activities and enhance project visibility and transparency.

  • 5. Validate the Project Scope

    In this step, shareholders must sign off the scope management plan. This step ensures that the stakeholders have a comprehensive understanding of the deliverables to avoid the chance of scope creep. When validating the scope, make sure to inspect the pan thoroughly. Team members can assist one another in the final inspection of the plan.

  • 6. Control the Scope of the Project

    The last step in creating the scope management plan is to implement scope control. As the project progresses, make sure to monitor the project status and manage the necessary changes to the scope. To streamline scope control, utilize project management software. The resource allows the team to collect informative feedback and share files and status updates in real-time.


What are the principal inputs of a scope management plan?

The different inputs of the scope management plan include a project charter, enterprise environmental factors, and the organizational process of assets.

What is scope planning?

Scope planning is the process of identifying the goals, objectives, tasks, activities,  resources, budget, requirements, and timeline of the project.

What is the purpose of having a scope management plan?

The principal purpose of creating a scope management plan for an organization or a project team is to create an effective and comprehensive project structure through proper documentation of required resources to accomplish the project according to the standards and expectations of stakeholders.

Construct a scope management plan to keep track of all the requirements of stakeholders when it comes to a project. The plan also enables individuals, teams, and organizations working on a project to have a clear understanding of the project scope and specifies the tasks, activities, and actions that each individual must accomplish to complete the project. Constructing the scope management plan also prevents or lessens the chances of scope creep that results in wasting time and resources throughout the project implementation. Compose a scope management plan by downloading one of the available templates from the 7+ SAMPLE Scope Management Plan in PDF | MS Word in the article above.