Difference Between Project Scope and Product Scope
In today’s competitive world, business entities are constantly rolling solution after solution, be it custom software, COTS products, mobile apps, etc., aimed to capture market share, reduce cost, become productive, and gain overall efficiences across an entire organization.
This is done by means of meticulous project planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing out projects. But it’s not as simple as it may sound. Most of the projects get stuck midway or won’t be completed within the allocated budget and/or schedule and the biggest killer is ‘Scope’, be it project scope or product scope.
In this blog post, let’s understand what is a scope and furthermore, what is the difference between a project scope and product scope. Discover the individual advantages both can bring to your project, the steps to define them, and sample documents. As a bonus tip, we’ve exposed what’s the nightmare when these are taken for granted. To understand the bonus point, continue reading.
Let’s dive in.
In very simple terms, scope refers to what’s included as part of the agreement, between the Customer and Implementation team (other stakeholders might also be involved in this agreement).
Also important is to know what is clearly ‘Not Included’ in the scope, often called ‘Out of Scope’ items. This way, all stakeholders are on the same page with regards to what’s included and what’s not included, as part of the solution.
Now let’s understand the difference between ‘Project Scope’ and ‘Product Scope’.
|Why is it important to determine the product scope?||Why is it important to determine the project scope in a project?|
|Establish clear project goals and objectives||Provide a clear view of the project’s goals, objectives, tasks, milestones, deadlines, resources, and deliverables|
|Focus on delivering clear results that meet customer’s needs||Avoid scope creep|
|Prioritize tasks, allocate resources, set time, plan for budget, and make strategic decisions||Manage stakeholder expectations on project delivery|
|Provide a clear view of the project’s requirements and objectives||Improve collaboration throughout the project|
How to Write a Product Scope?
|According to the PMBOK Guide, “Product scope is the features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result”. The features include physical attributes such as size, materials, as well as functional specifications of a product.|
Understand the Purpose of the Product: Gain a deep comprehension of why the product is being developed or created. Have a clear idea of all these – What problem or need does the product aim to solve or fulfill? What is the intended value or benefit that the product will provide to its users or customers? For this, you can engage with stakeholders, brainstorm with SMEs, and carry on web research too.
Gather the Requirements: After conducting comprehensive discussions with all, you would have a better understanding of the purpose, desired features, and specifications of the product. Having received everything, document the requirements – functional features, performance expectations, technical specifications, and constraints.
Prioritize the Requirements: To effectively manage the product scope, you should prioritize the gathered requirements by considering their significance and alignment with the project objectives. By prioritizing requirements, you can allocate resources appropriately, ensuring that the most critical aspects of the product are addressed first.
Define Constraints: It’s all about establishing clear limits and boundaries to define the scope of the project. It involves identifying what is included and what is not included in the project deliverables. Clear mentions of the features, functionalities, and deliverables that are part and not part of the project. Resources, time, budget, technology, and other limitations must also be defined properly.
Describe Scope Statement: Create a succinct scope statement that provides a summary of the product’s objectives, deliverables, boundaries, and essential requirements. The scope statement should be understandable, measurable, and clear to all stakeholders involved in the product development process.
Get Approval from Stakeholders: Validate and refine the scope by sharing the scope statement with stakeholders. Make appropriate revisions to ensure that the scope aligns accurately with the product’s objectives and requirements. Once the scope has been finalized, seek formal approval from relevant stakeholders to make everyone aligned on the defined product scope.
Here is a sample product scope document,
Product Scope | Sample Document | Online Shopping Platform
Product Overview: The online shopping platform is a web-based application that aims to provide users with a convenient and user-friendly platform to browse, purchase, and manage their shopping activities. The platform will offer a wide range of products across various categories, allowing users to explore, compare, and make secure online transactions.
User registration, search feature, product filtering, shopping cart management, secure payment processing, order tracking and history, account management, and wishlist functionality.
- Create an intuitive and visually appealing interface for users to easily navigate and search for products
- Enable users to create accounts, manage their profiles, and store their payment information
- Implement robust product catalog management to efficiently showcase and organize available products
- Develop a seamless checkout process that ensures secure transactions and supports multiple payment options
- Integrate order management functionality for users to track their orders, view order history, and manage returns or cancellations
- The project should be completed within a budget of $1000-$1500
- The development timeline should not exceed 6 months
- The platform should be compatible with major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge)
- The platform should be developed using technologies like Shopify, Magento, Drupal, etc.
- Users should be able to login using their email addresses or social media accounts
- Offer advanced search functionality, allowing users to search by keywords, categories, and filters
- Add products to their shopping carts, view the cart contents, and update quantities
- Integrate secure payment gateways to facilitate online transactions
- Users should be able to track order status and tracking information
- Users should have the ability to update their account information, manage addresses, and update preferences
- Mobile responsive
- Load time optimization
- Privacy regulations
This example provides a high-level overview of a product scope document for an online shopping platform. From product overview to objectives, key features, functional, non-functional requirements, and constraints. The document helps stakeholders gain a clear understanding of the product’s scope, purpose, and requirements.
How to Write a Project Scope?
|According to the PMBOK Guide, “Project scope is the work performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions”. It includes the process of determining the project’s goals, deliverables, deadlines, milestones, etc.|
Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Define specific and measurable goals that represent the milestones of the project. Goals are the high-level outcomes to be achieved while objectives are the specific targets within each project phase.
Collect Project Requirements: Each project has unique requirements. Having a thorough understanding of the requirements such as timeline, resources, budget, quality, and so on will help you deliver exactly what’s expected.
Define Constraints: Identify and define tasks and goals that are outside the project scope. Clearly establish relevant constraints. Knowing what’s excluded and setting boundaries prevents scope creep and ensures work stays within your team’s capabilities.
Determine Deliverables: During the project scope definition, it is important to outline the desired achievements and their associated timelines. Collaborating with relevant stakeholders, the creation of a work breakdown structure (WBS) is essential. The WBS breaks down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and incorporates workflow methods for visualization.
Get Approval from Stakeholders: Before commencing the operations, get approval from the stakeholder for the project scope. Obtaining stakeholder buy-in helps prevent scope creep and promotes clarity regarding the project’s overall vision.
Maintain a Change Control: Every project scope is bound to require changes at some point. To address this, project managers establish a change control process. This process involves submitting change requests to stakeholders for their approval or denial. It is crucial to have clear guidelines defining what changes are acceptable and what are not to effectively manage project scope modifications.
Each project scope statement should adhere to a standardized outline. Provided below is a fundamental outline along with an illustrative example of how each section may be structured.
Project Scope | Sample Document | Website Redesign
Project Name: Website Redesign
The Website Redesign project aims to modernize and enhance the user experience of our existing website. The project will involve redesigning the website’s visual interface, improving navigation, and implementing responsive design to ensure compatibility across various devices.
- Enhance the website’s visual appeal and branding consistency
- Streamline navigation to improve user experience and facilitate easy access to information
- Implement responsive design to optimize the website’s usability on mobile devices
- Increase website performance and page loading speed
- Integrate social media sharing capabilities to enhance the content reach and engagement
- Redesigned website wireframes and mockups
- Updated website interface design and branding elements
- Improved website navigation structure and menus
- Responsive website layout compatible with desktop, tablet, and mobile devices
- Optimized website performance, including faster page loading times
- Social media integration for seamless content sharing
Project Scope Boundaries
The project scope includes redesigning the website’s visual elements, optimizing navigation, and implementing responsive design. It does not involve extensive backend infrastructure changes or content migration.
- The project team will have access to the necessary design resources and expertise
- The existing website’s backend infrastructure will remain unchanged
- Content updates and revisions will be handled separately by the content team
- Week 1-2: Audit
- Week 3: Brief design agency
- Week 4-8: Design phase
- Week 9-12: Development phase
- Week 13: Testing phase
- Week 14: Launch
The project must comply with existing branding guidelines
This project scope document provides an overview of the website redesign project, outlining its objectives, deliverables, boundaries, assumptions, and constraints. It serves as a reference for all project stakeholders and guides the successful execution of the project.
Bonus Word | What are the Negative Impacts of Not Defining the Project Scope/Product Scope
Scope creep refers to the situation where a project’s deliverables extend beyond the boundaries initially established by the project scope.
Imagine you are managing a website redesign project for a client. The project scope includes designing a new homepage, about page, and contact page, with a launch date of one month from the start of the project.
During a particular review meeting, the client mentions that they want to add an e-commerce page to the website which is not part of the original scope, but the client wants it to be implemented before the launch date. This leads to scope creep.
If your project is impacted by scope creep, you will be required to work on tasks that were not planned initially or anticipated when the project began. Consequently, this could result in various issues such as delays in project completion, increased workloads, and a decline in the quality of the final deliverables.
Tips for Avoiding Scope Creep
- Define project scope and product scope and document them
- Share the documents with stakeholders, clients, the internal team, and everyone involved in the team
- Ensure everyone involved in the project is clear about the expectations and objectives
- Get approval for the documents from the stakeholders
- Inform the stakeholders about increased costs, timeline, and resources for additions to the scope in the midway of the project
The impact of product scope & project scope documents in a project is solid. So, you’ve to be sound in project management. To learn about project management, you can opt for courses at Skillcubator. We offer various eye-opener courses related to project management, business process management, and so on.
Why should you delay then? Enroll in a course today and handle projects like a pro!