How to Manage a Project

Making a Project Plan

Additional Materials

How to Scope a Project

Quite simply, use the following five steps to scope your project. If you follow them they will provide the information that you need to complete the Project Plan.

Step 1.    Project Objectives and Terms of Reference

Establish what the project is there to achieve and by when, by following the two-part approach, described in the link Project Objectives:

  • Stakeholder Analysis.
    Reviewing the various stakeholders of the project (those with a vested interest in the project and its outcomes) and establishing the criteria by which they will assess the project.
  • Formulate Project Terms of Reference.
    An overall definition and description of the project and its aims, supported by project objectives for each of the major stakeholders.

This can be based simply on the views of project manager or team, or can be improved by talking to some of the key stakeholders about what they would like the project to deliver - either in interviews or focus groups.

Step 2.    Project Benefits & Costs

List the benefits and costs of doing the project. Sponsors, project manager and team all need to be clear about these before investing time, effort and energy into a project. The depth of this often depends on the project - in many organisational projects, simple brainstorm is sufficient. The details are often used later when marketing and communicating the project.

Step 3.    Top-Level Plan

Create a top-level plan - project stages, milestone plan or Gantt chart - showing planned progress.

Step 4.     Project Organisation

Map out or list:

  • People.
    Those actively involved in carrying-out the project: - project sponsor, project manager, the project team. Also, any other key contributions needed - specialist support, contractors, etc
  • Project Control.
    Planned review meetings (sponsor/manager), team meetings, and end-of-phase reports.
Step 5.     Implementation Issues & Risks

Identify the key likely implementation issues and general strategies for resolving or avoiding them.