Tiffany's Tip of the Month
Five Tips to Improve Your Project Success
In last month's article, I discussed the challenges associated with "Scope Creep" and how to address them. As a review, there are two types of scope: 1) Project Scope and 2) Product Scope. This month, let's focus on product scope, what it is, and how to control it better.
Product scope as defined by the Project Management Institute as "the functions and features that characterize a product, scope, or result". Most people don't know the term "product scope", so they commonly refer to it as "technical scope" or more broadly as "requirements".
The biggest reason why projects exceed their original scope is because most project managers have never learned how to elicit, validate, document, and communicate requirements associated with Product Scope. Are you expected to do this yet you haven't had training on how?
That happened to me as an employee, so I figured it out the hard way; but I still had challenges and didn't know how to fix them. Then I was exposed to the field of Business Analysis. This is a Profession and Body of Knowledge issued by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).
Some project managers have people who play the role of a business analyst. As a result, the product scope is more clearly defined for their projects. If you don't, then you need to know how to do it yourself.
- Put on your consulting hat. Get curious and ask intentional questions of your stakeholders to discover the problem focusing on the cause.
- Once you understand the problem, avoid jumping to the solution. Instead find out what your stakeholders want and need. Translate these desires into requirements.
- Validate, document, and communicate the requirements so that they are good, quality requirements that everyone understands them using the 3Cs: clear, concise, and correct.
- Let the requirements dictate the solution. Keep an open mind, concentrating on the stakeholder's needs, not what's cool, the latest, or most convenient solution.
- Make sure the solution truly meets your stakeholder's requirements and keep refining it.
Having done this myself without training, I know the benefit of having the right tools and techniques and learning skills that make it easier for all stakeholders including me.
That is why I teach Business Analysis; so I can help people be more successful on their projects. If you're interested in learning Business Analysis, please join us Feb. 28 - 29 in Denver, CO for our intensive, interactive, hands-on workshop in Business Analysis Fundamentals.