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Purpose of a Project Scope/Baseline

Defining project scope is the process of developing a detailed description of the project and product. The processes used to manage project scope, as well as the supporting tools and techniques, vary by application area and are usually defined as part of the project life cycle. The approved detailed project scope statement and its associated WBS and WBS dictionary are the scope baseline for the project.

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This baseline is then monitored, verified, and controlled throughout the lifecycle of the project.

The purpose of project scope is to provide the project organization and the project manager with a road map of both the work to be completed, as well as the types of final deliverables sought. In some cases the scope document and the SOW are practically identical. For example, while the scope document may describe the end product or service to be produced and delivered by the project, it should not be treated as a document for technical specifications. Changes happen as a result of several reasons:

As the result of initial planning errors- Because many projects involve significant technology risks and uncertainty, it is often impossible to accurately account for all potential problems or technological roadblocks. As a result, many projects require midcourse changes to specifications when they encounter unsolvable problems or unexpected difficulties. As a result of additional knowledge of project conditions- The project team or client may enter into a project, only to discover that specific project features or the development environment itself require midcourse changes to scope.

Uncontrollable mandates- In some circumstances, events occur outside the control of the project manager or team that must be factored into the project as it moves forward. Client requests- As a project`s clients learn more about the project, they often ask for significant alternations to address new needs. Also, reasons for changing the project may be: poor communication; pressure/time constraints preventing effective definitive design; contracts signed when scope in not frozen; changes from initial design; poor initial planning; lack of project management tools and others.

In simple terms, configuration management is the best understood as the Systematic Management and Control of Project Change. The specific tasks of the configuration management discipline are as follows: * Configuration identification – This process identifies all items uniquely within the configuration, which establishes a successful method for requesting a change and ensures that no change takes place without authority.

In addition, every configuration item should be physically labeled so that the label identifies that physical item as the one recorded in the configuration register. In the case of large projects that involve numerous configuration items, it is important to establish a baseline configuration to provide some structure and avoid confusion. * Configuration control – This is a system through which changes may be made to configuration items.

As change request begin to appear, the configuration control system ensures that no change is made without assessment of its impact, either by the people potentially affected by the change, or without approval by an appropriate authority. * Configuration status accounting- This process, which records and reports the current status and history of all changes to the configuration system, provides a complete record of what happened to the configuration system to date. * Configuration audit – These audits are performed to ensure conformity between the items in the configuration and their specifications.

Audits ensure not only a match between what is delivered and what was required, but also consistency throughout all project documents. To avoid the cost and delays associated with uncontrolled changes, many organizations have set up formal procedures to control them- and have further extended those procedures “upstream” to anticipate changes well before occur. Establishing a configuration control system provides such a framework for anticipating what may not be obvious.