Project Scope

May 31, 2010

Many Project Management websites will talk to you about the need to manage time, money, and resources. But rarely is there a good article addressing the importance of project scope.

Project Scope is very important to any Project Manager. You have to define exactly what your project “is”, and what you intend to accomplish.

Not only does this help set realistic and reachable goals, but it also limits the errors of assumption and over-expectation.

As a Project Manager, you want to  be sure that you, your client, and your team are all on the same page about exactly what will be done, how it will get done, who will be responsible for which parts, and what the point is where we can all agree to call the job finished.

Setting these parameters in a clear fashion will help any project come off smoothly and increase overall job satisfaction for everyone involved.

A good tool to consider when organizing your project scope is Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM). describes this tool in the shortest form when it says “Knowing Where the Buck Ultimately Stops”; the idea is that you create a matrix of resposiblities and assign a person to each of the things you are expecting to get done. That way everyone knows exactly what they are responsible to accomplish, and then everyone stays on track.You start by identifying the goals and needs of the project:

Using a Work Breakdown structure, like the one shown above,  you can identify and coordinate training while still evaluating the results.

The next step is to identify the people involved in the project and what parts of the goals and needs they will be heading up (or working in):

Finally, you draw your matrix, where “The deliverables are the column headings, and the people are the row titles.” (

Identify training needs Coordinate the training Evaluate the results
Survey current practice Define new practice Locate resources Prepare training schedule Re-survey practices Analyze results
PM: Kim A A A A
CSM: Ron A R I A R
CEC: Terry R C R R
TC: Nancy I R R
CSS: Reagan R C C R C
CSR: John C C C

All of those letters you see up there are described by as:

“With your team, determine accountabilities as well as other levels of involvement for each item in your Work Breakdown Structure.

A useful framework to determine role assignments is RACI. This defines four levels of involvement:

R = Responsible (People who do the work)
A = Accountable (People who make sure the work gets done)
C = Consulted (People who provide input before and during the work)
I = Informed (People who are kept informed of progress)

Other levels of involvement may include “assist”, “coordinate”, “sign off”, and “review”. You can decide how to assign responsibility for your project and your team. But you must be sure that ultimate accountability and responsibility for performing the work are agreed upon and communicated.”

As you might have guessed, the last step is effective communication and project execution.

For more information on implementing RAM as well as defining project scope. Click Here.



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