My real life experiences with project management

Scope definition and optimization

In my last blog, we talked about task and project. We found out that any task can become a project and any project can become a task depending on the context. And this is the problem; how do you decide whether a given thing is a task or project? Remember I said, depending on the context? This is the key and the first step of project managementScope definition and optimization.

Let us first understand what is scope definition.

Scope definition, as the name itself implies, is nothing but the circle everything inside which needs to be executed or completed and everything outside which needs to be excluded.

Once we know dimensions of this circle, it becomes very easy to identify what all tasks needs to be completed and what the project actually is. Now this circle can be directly divided from its diameter to form two semi-circles both of which will represent one aspect of scope definition. The first semi-circle represents the task-scoping. It consists of physical tasks which need to be executed in order to complete the project. It can be any and everything, right from employing man-power to cutting the ribbon. The second semi-circle represents the time-scoping. This is a very important part when you are scoping a project. This half-circle denotes what is the time available to complete the project and what is the time period beyond which project would bear no meaning. To understand it better, let us take an example of telecom domain. In this competitive world, all telcos are badly struggling to acquire more and more customers. The best way to achieve this is via some lucrative price plans. Now, let us assume one of the telcos in the market, viz. ABC Telecom has designed an extra-ordinary price plan specially targeting the student segment. Another telco XYZ Telecom has also designed similar price plan but not as lucrative as ABC. In this case, if everything goes right most of the customers would be grabbed by ABC. But, if unfortunately ABC takes significantly extra time to implement the plan and in the mean-time, if XYZ launches it, they lose their share in the market and project fails. All the effort done so far bears no or little meaning now.

Let’s come to the scope optimization now. In fact, this is the extension of scoping itself and needs to be done very carefully. Let me be very clear; even the smallest mistake while optimizing may drastically fail the project and hence, it needs a good expertise. What is this optimization? This is basically the mapping of task-scoping and time-scoping. When these scopings are done initially, they are done in total isolation from each other and there are good chances that the two semi-circles do not fit together to form a perfect circle. Either tasks performed may be too less for the time-period given or it may be too much. Normally it is the later scenario. Both these cases are dangerous. While the former may lead to unnecessary cost estimation, the later may lead to operational cost overheads due to the inefficient system built because of undue pressure. Hence, it is important to properly and carefully map the task-scoping with the time-scoping. Though, it is a very difficult thing to do, especially when competition is too much and corporates are striving to achieve most in minimum time, if it is done properly, 40% of the entire project is achieved and path forward is much smooth.

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November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Project | , , , , , , , , , ,

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