A Step-by-Step Guide to Scope Statements

When Inventor Thomas Edison said, “Hell, there are no rules here—we’re trying to accomplish something," he most likely knew nothing about the importance of a project scope statement. If he did, and was a current day inventor, he would probably use one today. Hence, the need for this helpful guide to writing a scope statement.

Many business experts refer to the scope statement as a “promise" or “agreement" between the project manager, stakeholders, sponsors, and all key personnel or resources involved in the project. The best way to write an effective (or usable) scope statement, is remembering that the “promise" or “agreement" must be obtainable, realistic, shared, and understood and very concise.

What would any great feat of architecture be without a solid plan? Even most inventors or artists start with some sort of idea that is well thought and can be easily explained if need be.

Enter the scope statement, that promise or agreement, that clearly outlines what the project is, its objectives, what needs to be done, and by when, and includes project costs. Writing a scope statement also challenges the project manager to consider things outside of the project scope that are included in the project charter.

Beyond all the helpful tools you’ll find in this guide to writing a scope statement, including free template downloads and printables, the document consists of the following:

  • Project Name
  • Executive Summary
  • Objectives
  • Project Description
  • Milestones
  • Methodology
  • Approvals

Why bother with this project management document? Aren’t all of the above project concerns already detailed in project planning templates or the project charter? The world of project management is not just a manager shouting out directives with no clear objectives. This is what the scope statement does; in a clear and concise way. It is a document that is available to everyone who works on the project, and at its most efficient, it helps to sway scope creep.

Bright Hub’s all-inclusive guide to the project scope written by experienced project management writers and professionals offers answers to why the scope statement is so important, how to write one, and how avoiding ambiguity within the scope is a key toward success.

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