It stands to reason that when you’re planning a project that the most crucial stage is understanding what you should deliver. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise to learn that one of the main reasons that projects fail is due to the fact that this has been poorly defined and not effectively communicated to stakeholders.

If the list of project deliverables (the scope) doesn’t meet the needs of the stakeholders, the project and the organisation before the project goes live, then you could encounter problems down the track.

According to research by PWC, 41% of projects fail due to change(s) in scope mid-project.

You need a crystal clear idea of your deliverables so you know what you need to achieve, you can measure your progress and your stakeholders know what to expect.

Create your scope

The success of your scope (and your project) relies on how comprehensive you’ve been when gathering requirements from your stakeholders.

Once you’ve gathered all of the project requirements from the stakeholders, you need to translate these into what your project needs to deliver (the deliverables) to meet those requirements.

When you create your scope, you have to make decisions on what you will include and what you won’t include. Naturally, some of the things stakeholders have asked for won’t be delivered, whether it’s due to time or cost constraints, or if it doesn’t fit with the purpose and objectives of the project.

Make sure your deliverables in the scope are clear, to avoid stakeholders being disappointed that their interpretation of the deliverables doesn’t match the reality.

Get agreement on the scope

You should gather your stakeholders together in a meeting to ensure they all understand and agree. Make sure nothing is hidden – which can happen if you just hand someone a document (people can miss things). Your goal is absolute clarity, and to get valuable feedback.

Present the scope visually and talk through each part. It gives stakeholders the opportunity to spot gaps and to help you to ensure that they don’t miss or misunderstand anything.

During the meeting, you should also highlight what is ‘out of scope’ (what they have asked for that is not being delivered), and explain the reasons why.

A simpler and easier approach to project management

The above information is just one step in a six-step process that makes managing projects from start to finish simpler and easier.

The Six Step Guide to Practical Project Management strips back professional project management processes to the absolute basics without sacrificing the vital ingredients for a successful project – to hit your deadlines, stay on budget and deliver big benefits to your organisation (and career).