Project Scope Versus Product Scope

Project scope Vs Product scope

Knowing the difference between product scope and project scope is vital, and can be confusing.

Dictionary meaning of Project is “an individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim”.

Product is defined as “a good, idea, method, information, object, or service that is the end result of a process and serves as a need or want satisfier”.

Keeping these definitions in mind, let us look at scope of project and scope of product from the perspective of PMBOK®.

Scope of a Product refers to the features, characteristics and functions of the product, service or result.

When you look to scope the product, you will think from end user’s perspective, and plan for all the features that are useful to end user.  Outcome of a project is a product, service, or result.

If you are selling 2 inch drill-bits, you are actually making a product that gives end users 2 inch holes.

Project scope refers to all the needs to be addressed in order to create the product, service or result.

The 10 knowledge areas, 5 process groups, 47 processes – they all aim towards doing the work that produces the product.

Sometimes the term project scope is used in such a way as to include product scope as well.

Let us go back to our example of Green Landscapes Inc. creating landscape of the gated community Mammoth Construction Company is building.

Dan from Mammoth tells Kathy at Green Landscapes that he wants to have 12 acres of land to be landscaped. They are constructing nine buildings in the area interspaced by landscaping. Dan wants to have a walking/jogging park, a Chinese herbal garden, an all-seasons themed park and greens all around. Dan tells Kathy what he wants.

…this is product scope.

Now, Kathy figures out how is this to be done, what is required in order to create this landscaping. She works out the resources (machinery, people with different skillsets, tools). She identifies all activities to be performed, dependencies they share and then creates schedule. She works out the costing part. The communications part. The risks, and risk responses. Procurements, quality aspects and so on.

…this is project scope.

The 6 scope management processes – Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, Create WBS, Validate Scope and Control Scope – help you build the product.

Project Scope Management knowledge area ensures that the project contains all the work that is required to build the product, and not anything else. Second part is as important as first part. Any effort put to produce something other than the scope – is a waste of time and resources, and may even upset customer. Project manager needs to keep a tab on project work throughout and course-correct whenever team veers off the defined scope.

Let us look at the planning process in Project Scope Management knowledge area.


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