Category Archives: Scope Statement

Triple Constraint in Project Management

Great Video on Improving Your Ability to Deliver Projects: The Triple Constraint by Andy Kaufman, PMP.  Check out his website at:

What is the Triple Constraint?

  • Scope/Quality: clearly expresses the agreed-upon desired final results of the project
  • Time/Schedule:  detailed timeline of each component required to complete the project
  • Cost/Resources: what resources need to be applied or assigned to the project in terms of money and effort in order to implementation the project

Challenges with the Triple Constraint:

  • Each of these three items are known to work in tandem with one another in a project, therefore, if one of these elements is extended or restricted, the other two items will then also need to be either extended/increased in some way or reduced/restricted in some way.
  • Prioritizing the importance of the triple constraint with your client.  For example, your client may only care about bottom line, meaning they may have a strict budget that you cannot go over X dollars.

Project Manager Roles:

  • Educate your Client: inform your client that the project has to be completed at a certain level of quality, in a certain amount of time and particular amount of investment made in order to make the project successful.  For example, if the project has a time restraint, you may need to look into increasing the resources assigned to the project, or have the quality/scope reduced.  
  • Finding the Right Balance: when making any adjustments to any of the three components and knowing the effects each has to the project, you will be able to plan your projects better, analyze project risks, and protect your organization from the problems of unrealistic client expectations and master the project itself better
  • Gauge Project’s Objects: The triple constraint helps the project manager to gauge whether a project’s objectives are being met and whether the project was a success

Triple Constraint Formula: Cost * Schedule = Quality

Please feel free to share any tips that you might have that could help others to better balance the triple constraint in their projects.  Thank you!


Scope Creep Avoidance in a Project

Scope Creep Happens When:

  • Project has insufficient definition
  • Project Expansion/Additional features or functionality without looking at the effects on time, costs, resources, or without customer approval
  • Additional stakeholders or customers are included in the middle of the project
  • Wrong people defining the scope

Results of Scope Creep:

  • Adds complexity to the project
  • The project can collapses under its own weight/too much trying to be accomplished in the project
  • Can be a big risk for a project
  • Too much change can push the whole project over budget

Tips to Prevent Scope Creep:

  • Setup a change control process from the start, so if a change request is made later on, there is process to follow.  Remember though, some customer change requests occur during testing or can be totally outside of your control
  • Add a contingency fund and time budget for customer change requests.  Therefore, money will be drawn from the contingency fund, if a change request occurs
  • It’s important to setup limits early, put it in writing, and get sign off
  • Define and prioritize the business requirements as must haves and nice to have
  • Define what can be delivered with the resources that are available
  • Make additional features as part of phase 2 of the project, once the first part is completed, if possible

In the end, scope creep happens as a result of a project change or growth of a project’s scope.  Instead of preventing changes completed, as they will occur, work with your project team to effectively manage each change with the end goal of trying to stay on schedule and on budget as much as possible.

What Scope Creep Challenges Have You Experienced?

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Project Charter vs. Scope Statement

Do you know the difference between a scope statement and a project charter?  Both documents are designed to tell everyone associated with the project exactly what the project entails, showcase the schedule, and deal with budgeting and resource issues.  So what is the difference or are they the same?

Quick Definition:

Differences between these two documents:

Project Charter:

  • Official document created and approved by key stakeholders, after project idea has been identified
  • Developed by the corporate executive or sponsor
  • Defines the responsibilities and boundaries of the project manager and the project

Scope Statement:

  • After the project charter is approved, the project manager can proceed with launching team building activities and defining the scope of the project
  • Document that formalizes references the scope of everything that the project must produce that is used for future decision making
  • Developed by the project manager with his/her project team members
  • Acts as a response to the Sponsor/Project Charter

Reasons to Keep These Two Documents Separate:

  • Avoid debate in the project approval phase, as the project charter is easier to gain project approval in the early phases & helps to move the scope statement more quickly to save time in the end
  • Avoid early arguments over: deliverables, precise wording for the milestones, and objectives to help keep the direction of the project in the hands of the project manager, as written in the scope statement
  • Project charter is delivered to those with the authority to sign off on, as it defines the project, and can be used as a reference by the project manager to keep the project on course through the marching orders of upper management
End of the Day Answer: The Project Charter and Project Scope Statement are similar, but different, as I have noted above, and should be kept as separate documents.


Project Scope Statement

I recently created a project scope for one of my projects, so I wanted to take an opportunity and share with you some helpful items on why you would create a project scope statement and how you would develop a Project Scope Statement.

First off, you may ask “What exactly is a Project Scope?”  A project scope is an agreement made between the project team members, the project sponsor, and key stakeholders that help define the project scope and what needs to be accomplished to meet the project’s objectives.  “Why would I create a Project Scope?”  This agreement helps to represent a common understanding of the project for the purpose of facilitating communication among the stakeholders and for setting authorities and limits for the project manager and team members.   “What does the Project Scope include?” The Project Scope includes relating the project to meet the needs of the business objectives and to help define the boundaries of the project in multiple dimensions, including approach, deliverables, milestones, and budget.

The main highlights in a project scope statement include:

  1. Project Justification: How the problem is to be resolved
  2. Identify Project Product: Define possible solutions to your problem
  3. Project Deliverables: List of deliveries that need to be completed for the project
  4. Project Objectives: Quantifiable project objects, such as: cost, schedule, and quality measures
  5. Authorization/Sign off: This is an important step to make sure you receive sign off from upper management or your customer, that you understand the project needs, so your project is setup for success at the initial stages of managing your project

Example: Project Scope Statement

 Do you have any helpful hints to share that would be helpful when preparing a Project Scope Statement?  Please share your comments below! Thank you. 

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