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You probably came across this article because you were put in charge of a project and know you need to create a project scope document—but aren’t sure how to get started. We’ll walk through a real-world scope of work example, giving you pointers along the way.
If you are ready to create your own scope of work, be sure to grab a copy of my free Scope of Work Template. If you want step by step help filling out the form, check out my article Free Scope of Work Template – And How to Use It!.
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You’ve been called into your boss’s office for a quick meeting. In the meeting, you are tasked by your boss to manage a project to implement a new timecard system at your place of employment. You’ve been told you have a budget of $25,000 and that the system has to be live by June 30 of next year. With that, your boss sends you on your way.
You walked away from the meeting with a few choice bits of information—the budget, the deadline and the project manager (you!).
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You walk back to your desk and pull up the Scope of Work Template to start filling in the details you gleaned from your meeting.
The next step is to figure out who the sponsor is. The sponsor is the person that will ultimately accept the project from you and your team. The sponsor will give you direction, feedback and will hold you accountable to complete the project as promised.
Since you weren’t positive who the sponsor is, you ask your boss and find out that the accounting director will be the sponsor. You set up a meeting with your accounting director to go over the scope of work.
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Filling in the Details
You talk to the accounting director about their vision for the project—the scope statement, deliverables and exclusions. After the meeting, you fill in several more sections of your scope of work:
In order to accommodate the large increase in the number of employees we will be hiring for the next five years, we will deliver a new timecard system that will be easy to use and will be able to be deployed by the June 30th deadline under the allocated budget of $25,000.
As part of the project, we will deliver a fully functional timecard system with all current employees, and charge codes configured. A two day training session will be held for both employees and administrators after the implementation but before the commissioning of the system. The chosen vendor will provide detailed documentation and will offer support of the system for one year from the date of commissioning.
We will not install a remote access web interface as part of this project. Employees will need to be at the corporate office in order to fill out their timecards. We will also not provide any customized reports as a part of this project.
With that, you seek feedback from your boss and the project sponsor. They seem happy with the project scope so far.
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Milestones, Stakeholders and Costs – Oh My!
Next you sit down with your implementation team to come up with a list of milestones. You come up with the following:
- Q1 – Requirements defined
- Q2 – Vendor selected
- Q3 – Implementation complete
- Q4 – System commissioned
You’ll want to keep these at a pretty high level. A detailed work breakdown structure can be part of your official project plan.
Next you complete the Stakeholders section. Stakeholders are those that will be affected by the project. In this case, you come up with:
- Human Resources – responsible for maintaining employee access levels and for training new employees.
- Accounting – responsible for administering the system and charge codes.
- Information Technology – responsible for day to day maintenance of the server, network and system upgrades.
Keeping track of the stakeholders ensures you keep them in the loop when it comes to communicating project status.
Now for the fun part—determining what the project will cost. You’ll want to break up the costs between internal and external labor hours as well as materials, hardware and software. After researching some vendors online, you come up with the following project cost estimates.
- Labor – Internal – internal labor for HR, Accounting and IT. 150 hours.
- Labor – External – installation charges for a system of our size averages about 2-3 days. $1000
- Materials – NA
- Hardware – one server running Windows Server 2008. $3000
- Software – Timecard system with licensing for 150 employees. $20,000.
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Finishing the Scope of Work
After you’ve completed the main sections of the document, you should review it for clarity and accurateness. Sign the form and route it to the sponsor for approval. It’s probably best to bring the stakeholders and sponsor together before finalizing the scope of work to make sure you didn’t miss anything and to ensure the milestones and budget are appropriate. Once you’ve got your project scope approved, the real project can begin!
If you’re looking for more advice, take a look at Eric Stallsworth’s article on how to write a scope statement.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, David Vignoni