Managing the scope of a project and making sure it stays on track can be challenging. As a project leader, it can be tough to adjust the way you manage scope based on development approach. Scope management is important because it ensures that the project meets its objectives and delivers value to the organization.

In this post, we’ll explore ways to document project scope and how to use various tools will help you define it. We’ll also learn how to customize these tools to fit your project.

Table of Contents

  1. Scope Management and Business Case
  2. Agile Elevator Statements in Scope Management
  3. Scope Definition Tools & Techniques
  4. Benefits Management Plan and Scope Management
  5. Why Tailoring Scope Is Important

Scope Management and Business Case

A popular way to evaluate a project is to create a business case.  This document justifies the project need typically through economic analysis including cost-benefit analysis and payback period and includes a high-level overview of its objectives, expected benefits, costs, risks, and feasibility. The document provides context and the rationale for the project and is typically done at the time the organization is identifying the need for the project.

The business case can influence scope definition by highlighting the project’s strategic goals, financial investment required, source of project funding and expected outcomes. It can also provide insights into the scope boundaries and the overall direction of the project. It also helps stakeholders understand the project purpose and potential value.

Regardless of the project management development approach used, the business case serves as a valuable reference point throughout the project lifecycle. It helps in maintaining alignment with the project’s strategic objectives, ensuring that the project scope remains focused on delivering the intended business value.

Agile Elevator Statements and Scope Management

Another way to provide a clear scope vision of a project is an elevator statement or agile delivery statement. This statement presents a short, concise description of the project using the following template:

For:     Target customer

Who: Need (the opportunity or problem)

The:    Product/ service or name

Is a:     Product category

That:   Key benefits/reason to buy

Unlike: Primary competitive analysis

We:     Primary differentiation

This tool can be used by you or members of the team to quickly convey the purpose of your project and its value.

Both the business case and the Agile elevator statement are crucial in their respective contexts.  The business case provides a comprehensive justification for the project, while the agile elevator statement offers a succinct and compelling vision.  These documents serve as valuable references throughout the project lifecycle, guiding decision-making, communication efforts and scope management. Now let’s take a closer look at some tools to define scope and how to use them.

Scope Definition Tools and Techniques

There are several tools and techniques that can be used for scope definition in project management. The choice of tools depends on the nature of the project, the complexity of the scope, and the preferences of the project team. Here are some commonly used scope definition tools and tips on tailoring them to suit your project:

Project Scope Statement:

The process of delivering a detailed description of the project and product.  It includes:

  • Product scope
  • Project scope
  • List of project deliverables
  • Acceptance of criteria
  • What is not part of the project
  • Assumptions and constraints

The project scope statement is commonly used on predictive projects. In an Agile project, the concept of a project scope statement is still applicable, although it is adapted to provide a flexible and evolving outline of the project’s objectives, deliverables, and major features. It acts as a reference document that captures the initial scope and guides iterative planning, allowing for continuous refinement of the scope based on feedback and changing requirements throughout the project.

Regardless of the development approach, a project scope statement helps the project manager and the team better understand the project, actively involve stakeholders, and make sure their deliverables meet acceptance or satisfaction criteria.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS):

A WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the project’s deliverables into smaller, manageable deliverables know as work packages. It provides a visual representation of the project and product scope and helps in organizing and understanding the project’s components.

To modify the WBS, consider the level of detail needed for your project. You can break down the project into life cycle phases, deliverables, sub-deliverables, to deliverables of a size for clarity of planning, depending on the project size and complexity. In agile, the story map is the decomposition of deliverables for planning. You can break down the project into epics, features, and user stories.

Mind Mapping:

A visual technique that helps in brainstorming and organizing ideas. Start with a central concept, such as the project goal, and branch out to capture related ideas, deliverables, and requirements.

Mind mapping encourages creativity and collaboration, allowing team members to contribute to the scope definition process. Tailor the mind map by customizing the branches and levels based on the specific project requirements.


This tool involves creating a preliminary model or representation of the project’s end product or service. It helps in clarifying requirements, identifying potential issues, and visualizing the scope.

Modify the prototyping approach by choosing the appropriate level of detail and accuracy (e.g., fidelity) when creating something. It’s about finding the balance between providing enough information to convey meaning without going into too much detail. Low-fidelity prototypes can be quick sketches or mock-ups, while high-fidelity prototypes may involve interactive digital models or functional prototypes.

Interviews and Workshops:

Conducting interviews and workshops with stakeholders and subject matter experts is an effective way to gather requirements and define the project scope.

Adapt the approach by planning and structuring the sessions based on the desired outcomes. Prepare a list of targeted questions, format for capturing requirements, facilitate discussions, and encourage active participation to ensure all relevant perspectives are captured.

Requirements Documentation:

Creating a requirements document is a systematic approach to scope definition. It involves capturing and documenting all project requirements, including functional, technical, and non-functional aspects.

Tailoring the requirements documentation by using templates or frameworks specific to your industry or project management methodology. Structure the document based on the priority, dependencies, and criticality of the requirements.

Benefits Management Plan and Scope Management

The benefits management plan is another tool to understand and deliver the appropriate scope. It is a document that focuses on identifying, measuring, tracking, and realizing the expected benefits of the project. It is usually developed in parallel or after the business case, it helps form the project objectives and scope.

This is a tool that can be applied in various project management approaches, including both agile and predictive methodologies. Its purpose remains consistent, which is to manage and maximize the value and benefits derived from the project’s outcomes as well as how the project outcomes will be maintained and sustained within the organization or by the client.

It is also important in establishing the organizational change requirements and deliverables and planning for the benefits to be fully realized after the project. The specific implementation and techniques used within the plan may vary based on the project management development approach chosen.

Today, more than ever, organizational leaders expect project managers, program managers, portfolio managers and business analyst to balance the project benefits and costs to ensure the organization is getting a value and that benefits expected are realized.

Why Tailoring Scope Is Important

The idea that one size fits all isn’t effective. We can’t just have one approach to any of our tools, techniques, and processes. That’s because the size of the project, its importance, its relevance, and the interconnection with the work in the organization requires us to adapt.

Modifying scope allows for the customization and adjustment of project objectives, deliverables, and requirements to fit the specific needs of a project. It involves making conscious decisions about what should be included or excluded from the project scope based on factors such as project goals, resources, timeline, and stakeholder expectations.

Other benefits include enhanced stakeholder satisfaction and an increased likelihood of meeting their specific requirements. This allows for better risk management and increases the chances of successfully delivering the essential elements of the project.

Learn More About Scope Management

The first step in scope management is to create a big-picture vision, business case and charter of your project. This means getting an overall understanding of what needs to be done. Then, you can adjust the level of detail, methods, and strategies to find the perfect balance between what is wanted and delivering the realistic benefits and value. You can use tools to define the scope that matches the specific features, goals, and expectations of your project’s stakeholders.

To learn more, listen to our free recorded webinar Tailoring Scope for Agile, Hybrid and Predictive and earn 1 PDU.

Sources:  Pages 102-103