What is the difference between Requirements and Scope?


difference between scope and requirements
This question may confuse people even after working in the project management role for years. We have an elaborate process where requirements are collected using various tools and techniques, but why is there another process that talks about scope?

The difference is simple.

Requirements define the product behavior. They indicate what is that users want from the product.

A carpenter needs to be able to drill 2-inch holes. This is the requirement. He needs a drill-bit that can drill 2-inch holes.

Scope indicates the activities that need to be done in order to achieve the requirements.

Scope is about figuring out what goes into creating the drill-bit that has a diameter of 2-inches, and the acceptable tolerance limits. 

Scope can achieve partial set of requirements when the requirements are implemented across multiple phases or iterations (if you are using Agile methodology) by scoping part of requirements in each phase/iteration.

For instance, in Kathy’s Joggers’ Garden project, the requirement was to create a garden with a jogging/walking track. In the first phase of the project she decides to scope the landscaping part. In the second phase she scopes planting of saplings, and fixing water sprinklers. In the third phase she scopes laying of jogging tracks. Thus, one requirement is completed across three phases by scoping in part of the requirement in each.

In short, requirement is outward facing – specified by customer/business; and scope is inward facing – to be implemented by the project to satisfy requirements.

Requirements are capabilities that are required to be present in the product, service or result that project is supposed to produce, in order to satisfy a formal agreement (which could be a Contract).

Scope the sum of product, service or result to be provided by the project.

You understand customer’s business requirements and then turn them into project scope.

That is why Collect Requirements process is followed by Define Scope process.

If my requirement is to let you take advantage of my study notes and pass PMP exam, then my scope of work would be to create very useful lessons that explain PMP concepts in simpler ways. 🙂

Which day-to-day examples can you think of that show the difference between requirements and scope?

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • vivek June 1, 2017, 1:30 pm

    You are awesome…. Explained in very simple and great way .. Thanks…

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