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WHAT IS SCOPE MANAGEMENT?

Scope (and its management) is one of the main ICT Project Management issues which, if left unmanaged, can lead to project overruns, late project deliveries, and misaligned requirements, and is of particular importance when contracting for ICT services, product development, IT projects and programs. Scope Management is one of the nine Project Management knowledge areas as outlined in the PMBOK® Guide, and it is increasingly seen as  an essential (controllable) element at both higher and lower management levels.

The PMBOK® Guide describes Project Scope Management as the processes required to “ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.”

Project Scope Management

Project Management Knowledge areas (PMBOK® Guide)

THE NEED FOR SCOPE MANAGEMENT

It is well established that ICT projects are, by nature, plagued by uncertainties in the following areas: requirements, technology, resources, and quality. While many organizations seek to minimize these uncertainties as risks mitigated through fixed price or time and materials contracts, ultimately the lack of flexibility for change throughout the project cripples it. The 2009 Standish Group CHAOS report cites a mere 32% of software projects as successful and attributes Scope management as one of the dominant areas  contributing to project success.

HOW

NorthernSCOPE™ is a management approach  that describes the (Certified) Scope Management work as a series of twelve steps, covering the software development life cycle (from feasibility study and initial requirements to program closure and collecting lessons learned).

northernSCOPE™ is based on three cornerstones:

Project Scope Management

  • Functional Size Measurement
  • Unit pricing £€$$/FP
  • An independent Certified Scope Manager (CSM)

Traditional acquisition approaches for ICT projects include fixed price or time-and-materials proposals, both of which contribute to failure and scope inflexibility. NorthernSCOPE™ provides an alternative approach that builds in the flexibility for change and uncertainties to occur, and yet allows the customer to retain the control and minimize the risks of exactly what is delivered as part of their software solution.

northernSCOPE™ presents an approach to project costing similar to that used successfully in other industries. By applying unit costing to ICT projects, northernSCOPE™ builds on tried and true methods employed by the construction industry (cost per m²), roadways (cost per km), and trades such as painters (cost per surface m²).

northernSCOPE™ bases its unit costing on functional size measurement (FSM), a proven measure of software size, and employs published industry rates to derive cost per function point of software developed. FSM is an ISO/IEC standardized approach to sizing the amount of software function delivered by an ICT project. (Function points are to software as square meters are to a house.) In addition to traditional pricing equations, cost per function point provides a new, more accurate result. Customers pay only for the functionality they need, suppliers are paid for the functionality they deliver on their customers’ behalf. Both parties win.

A Certified Scope Manager (CSM) is ideally technology-savvy management and measurement expert experienced and well-versed in northernSCOPE™ . S/he possesses a solid understanding of ICT programs, software requirements, software measurement and project estimating. S/he can assess the scope and impact of requirements on the project effort and cost, and effectively communicate the “big picture” to customers and developer representatives during the project. The CSM is similar to  an orchestra conductor who keeps all parties to the development program working collaboratively and keeps them informed of the current project progress. A CSM is like a friendly project “octopus” with multiple arms:  s/he is one part negotiator, one part business analyst, one part project manager, one part metrics expert, one part project estimator, one part change agent, and two parts project coordinator.

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