How to Manage a Project

Getting Started

Additional Materials

What is a Project Scoping Study?

A Project Scoping Study gives the project manager the opportunity to look at and assess the project before it becomes formally "live". Not so much to query whether the project should go ahead but to establish how it needs to be organised and managed, specifically:

Such a study may take only a week or may take several months depending on the size of the project. Usually it is based around discussions with key stakeholders (those with a vested interest in the project) and potential team members and contributors. The findings and conclusions are summarised in a Project Plan.

Five Stages of Projects

What is Project Scoping

In any project there is a "Project Proposal Stage" - sometimes formal, sometimes informal. It is the period of work which results in a decision. In medium or large projects this may result in a Project Brief which summarises - "this is what we should do".

The next stage, "Project Scoping and Planning", is the first and most important stage for the Project manager. It is in this stage that the project manager has the opportunity to look at and assess the project before it becomes formally "live" - not to query whether the project should go ahead (that is already decided) but to establish how the project should be organised.

It is a period of time, often short (days or weeks), during which the Project Manager assesses the project to establish:

What does it involve

That clearly depends on the project. For really major projects it may take months but in practice most projects can be scoped in a few days or weeks. It rarely involves collecting significant new information. When carried out with others involved in or connected to the project it can be completed in a morning and is a very powerful way of starting a project.

The bulk of the work involves discussions with relevant parties to get a feel for the key issues, and then some structured thinking and evaluation.

What is the outcome

The conclusions are summarised in  Project Plan - sometimes called project initiation document or project scoping report. Generally only three or four pages long.

This then needs to be used by the project manager to set the project up as follows: