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In project management, project scope and product scope are often viewed synonymously. These widely used terms are not the same and to determine the difference, we must revisit the core word “scope.” According to (Usmani, 2018) “A scope can be defined as the range, detail, or a boundary of a term it is attached to.” To further support the difference between product scope and project scope;

Product scope – Features, capabilities or the attributes the product MUST support to meet the stakeholder’s expectations.

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Project scope – All the “Tasks” and “Deliverables” that MUST be successfully completed to build the product. (Wizard, 2017)

A product can be anything from a material to a service, whereas the project is how we deliver the specific product.

According to (Kumar, 2016) Some of the tools that we can use to define and capture the project include, “expert Judgement, product analysis, alternative generation and facilitated workshops.” Additionally, using SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time bound objectives, can help define the scope further.

The inputs required to define the scope are the scope management plan, project charter, requirements documentation, and the organizational process assets. The (Lounge, 2018) adds, that the project scope does not just outline what will be delivered as part of the project, but also what is excluded from the final product.

A WBS is used to further breakdown the job scope into small manageable tasks that are SMART. Once the project scope has been defined and the requirements known, we can begin to divide this work into tasks and subtasks to develop a schedule. The WBS is the scope of the project broken into tasks.

Scope creep happens all the time and can easily become a project killer if not identified. Scope creep occurs when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled and is generally harmful to a project. To prevent and control this “scope creep” we need to first learn what causes “scope creep.” According to (Larson, 2009) the top five causes are (1) lack of scope definition (2) requirements and scope not managed (3) inconsistent process for collecting requirements (4) lack of sponsorship and stakeholder involvement, and (5) length of the project. (Doll, 2001) outlines seven steps to use to avoid scope creep as follows: Understand project vision, understand priorities, define deliverables, turn deliverables into work requirements, break down milestones, create a WBS and expect scope creep. “Either way scope creep is unavoidable! In the project management world, scope creep is to a project as man is to breathing in oxygen.” (Confidence, 2012)

Works Cited

Confidence, S. (2012, March 31). How do project managers handle scope creep? Retrieved from Techieshut: http://techieshut.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-do-proj…

Doll, S. (2001, March 13). Seven steps for avoiding scope creep. Retrieved from Tech Republic: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/seven-steps-f…

Kumar, K. (2016, December 24). PMP | how to define scope process tutorial in project [Video]. Retrieved from Youtube:

Larson, R. &. (2009). Top Five Causes of Scope Creep…and What to do About Them. Retrieved from Project Management Institute: https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/top-five-caus…

Lounge, P. (2018, March 21). Define Scope Process [Video]. Retrieved from Youtube:

Usmani, F. (2018, December 25). PM Study Circle. Retrieved from Product Scope vs Project Scope: https://pmstudycircle.com/2012/01/product-scope-vs…

Wizard, R. (2017, February 4). Product and Project Scope. Retrieved from Youtube:

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