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Describe Three Actions PM Can Take To Define Project Scope

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 7th November 2015

1- Produce Product Breakdown Structure (PBS): One action PM will take is producing Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) to identify the deliverables that will be produced by the project. PBS will provide backbone to the configuration library. PBS is important as it will give clarity to Sponsor and Stakeholders about the end products that will be delivered by the project. For example, end products for a sewage project will be pipelines, manholes, pumping station, treatment packages….etc. which details will be presented in design reports and drawings.
2- Produce Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): Another action PM will take is producing Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in which he will identify the works to be carried out in order to produce the deliverables (products). Work is identified into “Work Packages”, to each budget is assigned. WBS is important as it gives clarity to the project team about the works that will be carried out in the project. For example a project for a pumping station will include civil work package, mechanical work package, electrical work package and instrumentation work package.
3-Produce Organization Breakdown Structure: Third action PM will take is producing Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS) which will represent the reporting hierarchy in the project. OBS will identify all the personnel involved in the project along with their assigned roles. Each “role” should have role description, responsibilities, statement of works (i.e. clear identification of what is required from each individual). OBS is important as it communicates to Stakeholders the relevant individuals associated with the project and their roles. For example, OBS for a pumping station project will identify the PM, the team leaders for Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Instrumentation works who are participating in the project.
It is important to baseline the project scope to enable the following:
1- Ability to assess performance by comparing planned progress against actual progress and making judgment whether the project is on track or not. That is important as it gives visibility to actual performance and enables taking proactive actions to avoid delay. For example, we are supposed to have 3.0m wide x 6.0 m height wall built within 3 days, we are on day 2 and only 2.0m height of the wall is completed. It means that in order to finish in time we need to increase the resources and account for additional cost.
2- Ability to justify variations especially if changes in scope and baseline parameters are influenced by the stakeholders during the process of the project. PM will include in his variation order comparison between the original scope and the tracked/ documented/ controlled induced changes by stakeholders which followed along the project life cycle. That is important to support PM request for variation and compensation. For example, original scope of works included building 3.0m wide  x 6.0m height wall within 3 days. During work progress stakeholders requested increasing the wall height to 9.0m. That will have impact on the cost and time for completing the wall and hence P.M will raise a variation order request.