Blog Post Image

Term Scope And Four Techniques For Developing It

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 28th February 2012

Hi Paul, feedback appreciated. I wasn’t able to download the diagram for WBS.

In simple terms, the scope of the project is what the project is going to deliver, when it will deliver and to what quality.


This definition, though is quite high level and typically as the project definition phase progresses, the Project Management Plan seeks to demand greater definition of project scope to ensure clarity is given on the nature of the products required.


Two key components exist to help the project develop plans and schedules to manage properly and refine the project scope. These are products and work.


1.       Work Break Down Structure (WBS): Is a tool for defining the hierarchical breakdown of work. Major elements of work are broken down into smaller elements. These elements are continued to be broken down until the lowest level of detail is established. These lowest level of units of work become the activities of the project. The WBS defines the total work of the project and provides a structure for all project control systems. In the diagram below, the shaded boxes indicate the work packages i.e. the lowest units of the project.




Project 1

Task 1.1

Task 1.2

Task 1.3

Sub task 1.1.2

Sub task 1.2.1

Sub task


Sub task 1.3.1

Sub task


Sub task

Sub task

2.       The Product Breakdown Structure: Is very similar to the Work Break Down Structure in design, except it has a focus on products and will therefore define scope by nouns, rather than verbs.

3.       The Organisation Breakdown Structure: helps the project communicate to stakeholders who does what within the project team. Its use in defining scope comes when combined with the WBS to identify a matrix of roles and responsibilities through the responsibility assignment matrix.

4.       The Cost Breakdown Structure: This breaks down scope by looking at significant elements of spend and then breaking these costs down to component costs. Typically costs are broken down into labour, materials and overheads.