6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.3 Define Scope: Tools & Techniques

In the last post, I discussed the inputs that go into this process.   In this post, I will discuss the tools and techniques themselves.

The first four tools and/or techniques are “generic” in the sense that they are used in ANY decision-making process on a project; however, I will list the examples of these tools that are applicable to this particular process.    The fifth technique, Product Analysis, is used specifically for this process.  Expert Judgment

The best experts to use in this process are those that have done similar projects before, as they can help guide the planning process from the requirements, the output of the last process, to the scope required to deliver those requirements.  Data Analysis

Alternatives analysis is a data analysis technique used to evaluate the various ways to meet the requirements listed in the requirements documentation and the high-level project objectives identified in the product charter. Decision Making

  • Multicriteria decision analysis– this provides a systematic analytical approach to establishing criteria, in particular the constraints such as schedule, budget, and resources, to rank the various alternative ways to meet the requirements.

Once the analysis is complete, then it is time to make a decision.   This can be done either through autocratic decision making, where one individual takes responsibility for making the decision for the group, or some sort of system of voting as a group, which may include the following decision-making techniques:

  • Autocratic–one person takes responsibility for making the decision for the group
  • Unanimity–everyone must agree on a single course of action in order for it to go forward.
  • Majority–more than 50% of the members have to support a single course of action in order for it to go forward.
  • Plurality–the largest block of votes in a group decides on a single course of action in order for it to go forward.
  • Autocratic–one person takes responsibility for making the decision for the group  Interpersonal and Team Skills

These skills are important for facilitation of workshops and working sessions with key stakeholders.   The goal is to reach a cross-functional and common understanding of the project deliverables and project/product boundaries.   Boundaries, remember, are not just what is going to be in the scope, but exclusions, those items which are specifically NOT going to be in the scope. Product Analysis

This process is the creation of asking questions and forming answers regarding the use, characteristics, and other relevant aspects of what is going to be delivered.

Each application area (IT, manufacturing, construction, etc.) has one or more generally accepted methods for taking high-level product or service descriptions (usually found in the project charter and/or business plan), capturing the requirements needed to fulfill these objectives (done in the last process), and then in turn decomposing the requirements into the level of detail needed to design the final product.    That last step is what is done in product analysis.

This can include

  • requirements analysis (categorizing into business requirements and stakeholder requirements at a high level, solution requirements and quality requirements at a more technical level, transition and readiness requirements which deal with how the product, service or result will be implemented, and finally project requirements that analyze the various requirements of the project such as schedule, budget, and resource constraints
  • analysis of the systems in which the product, service, or result will operate
  • analysis of the value of the product, service or result to the various stakeholders including (most importantly) the customer

The result of this analysis, which uses the four tools and techniques listed above (expert judgment, data analysis, decision making, and interpersonal and team skills), is the project scope statement and updates to project documents.

All of these outputs to this process are described in the next post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: