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Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 314: Project Scope Management (Free)

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Jamal Moustafaev

Incomplete or missed requirements, omissions, ambiguous product features, lack of user involvement, unrealistic customer expectations, and the proverbial scope creep can result in cost overruns, missed deadlines, poor product quality, and can very well ruin a project.

That is why Jamal Moustafaev (http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jmoustafaev/en) wrote his new book about the topic of Project Scope Management. It is a Practical Guide to Requirements for pretty much any industry and describes how to elicit, document, and manage requirements to control project scope creep. It also explains how to manage project stakeholders to minimize the risk of an ever-growing list of user requirements.

Scope is important because every single one of our projects is launched to deliver something. And that something is defined in our scope. So Jamal and I not only look at what the state of scope management overall is and how business analysis plays into this, but we end our interview (of course!) with scope management tips and tricks for you.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #314. This is the Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. Welcome back!

Incomplete or missed requirements, omissions, ambiguous product features, lack of user involvement, unrealistic customer expectations and the proverbial scope creep can result in cost overruns, missed deadlines, poor product quality and can very well ruin a project.

That is why Jamal Moustafaev wrote his new book about the topic of Scope Management. It is a practical guide to requirements for pretty much any industry and it describes how to elicit document and manage requirements to control project scope creep. It also explains how to manage project stakeholders to minimize the risk of an ever-growing list of user requirements.

This episode of The Project Management Podcast™ is sponsored by The PM Exam Simulator™. If you are preparing for the PMP® exam then the best way to calm the butterflies in your stomach is to take a practice exam. Our PMP Exam Simulator™ offers you 9 such practice exams. To see how it works, take a free test drive to www.freeexamsimulator.com.

But now, back to scope management. Scope is important because every single one of our projects is launched to deliver something and that something is defined in our scope. So Jamal and I not only looked at what the state of scope management overall is and how business analysis plays into this, but we end our interview of course with scope management tips and tricks for you.

Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Jamal Moustafaev, President and CEO of Thinktank Consulting, a consulting company specializing in project and portfolio management services.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Jamal! Welcome to The Project Management Podcast™!

Jamal Moustafaev: Hello, Cornelius! How are you doing?

Cornelius Fichtner: I'm doing very well, thank you! And you must be doing well also considering that your new book is out?

Jamal Moustafaev: Yes, quite happy about that. Quite happy that it came out about a month ago, so yeah. Just looking forward to chatting with you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! So the book is titled Project Scope Management - A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product Construction, IT and Enterprise Products. That pretty much covers everything, doesn’t it?

Jamal Moustafaev: Well yeah, that's what I was aiming at you know as we will talk to this interview, hopefully I will give you my ideas about why I decided to write this book and the domain that I was trying to cover.

Cornelius Fichtner: Well, let's talk about the domain. What is project scope management?

Jamal Moustafaev: Well it's probably a good point to start this conversation with somewhat of an exact definition so that people have an understanding what we're talking about.

One of the definitions of project scope management that I like is that project scope management is setting the scope right at the very beginning of the project planning phase in order to define its outcomes and deliver both. And it is considered in project management to be a part of creating a vision for the team and stakeholders alike. It includes 5 process groups called Collect requirements, Define the scope, Create work breakdown structure, Verify scope and Control scope. So that's kind in a nutshell a very short definition of what project scope management is.

Cornelius Fichtner: And what state is project scope management in nowadays?

Jamal Moustafaev: You know what? I'm going to say my personal opinion about that as someone who worked as a hands-on project manager for the first 15 years of my professional career but that view has been supported by many of my colleagues around the world especially in the last several years as I started traveling with my consulting engagements and my training engagements.

It seems to be one of the most neglected domains in project management. Because if you even look up in PMBOK version 5, I'm not going to be quoting exactly what it says but it states something to the effect of once the project manger gets the product scope definition from the technical experts, she can embark on the creation of the project work breakdown structure with the assistance of her team.

Now the main problem with that statement in my opinion is that what happens exactly from the point of time when Cornelius came to me and said: "Please build me a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom Tuscan style home" to the point of time when my architects and designers came up with an exact bill of materials and an exact blueprint remains an enigma. How do I listen to all the requirements? How do I document them? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

If I can use some industry statistics to support my point of view, as of the last couple of years, our success rate with projects has been 32%. If you're looking at challenge projects seriously over-budget and seriously late 44%. If you look at the failed ones 24%. So performance overall on projects has not been that great.

If you dig deeper, you will discover that 5 out of 8 top reasons why projects fail are related to requirements and they include incomplete requirements, lack of user involvement, unrealistic customer expectations, changing requirements and specifications, customers no longer needing the features provided.

Again based on my personal experience, having incomplete requirements as a result very frequently of lack of user involvement, probably one of the main issues in the industry. So that's my very brief overview of the state of the project scope management nowadays.

Cornelius Fichtner: Actually I'm quite surprised that you say that project scope management is neglected. Because from my perspective, the scope is it. This is what we're going to build. If I neglect scope management, I pretty much neglect what I'm going to build. So how can I know what I'm going to build if I don’t manage the scope well?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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