DoIT Project Management Advisor
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Stage 2: Initiate the Project


What it is How to Templates/
How to: Define Scope

Recommended actions and strategies
The table below describes actions you can perform to define the scope of a project.   


What to do

How to do it


Identify and clarify the project business need

  • Check to see if the business need was addressed in the Conceptualize Stage. It’s often stated as the purpose of a project.
  • You may need to work with the project sponsor or other project stakeholders to get this information if not available from the Conceptualize Stage.
  • Write an overview of the purpose of the project.
  • Specify the business value or benefits to the organization.
  • Use functional business terms to state the business need


Define project goals

  • Check to see if the project goals were addressed in the Conceptualize Stage
  • You may need to work with the project sponsor or other stakeholders to determine project goals if not available from the Conceptualize Stage

A good goal statement has these characteristics:

  • Specific – define what should be accomplished
  • Measurable – define how much, how many and how well the problem will be resolved
  • Understandable – understood by all involved
  • Acceptable – agreement that the goal is necessary and desirable
  • Reasonable – can be achieved in the time allowed
  • Time Bound – has a deadline or time horizon



Define the characteristics of the product or service

You may need to work with the project sponsor or other stakeholders to obtain a product description. At this stage, the product characteristics will have less detail.


Identify name and organization of the customer, sponsor and project manager

Customer: The entity who will realize the benefits of the project and may have initiated the project.

Sponsor: The person who is championing the project and will help resolve issues and make resources available to the project.

Project manager: The person responsible for leading the project to a successful conclusion.


Identify what is In Scope and Out of Scope

Describe what the project will accomplish – in scope – and what the project will not accomplish – out of scope.


Identify the project critical success factors

Describe the key areas in which the project must perform well on a consistent basis to achieve the goals of the project.


Identify project assumptions

Identify items taken as being true for the purposes of planning a project but could change later. Indicate the potential impact if the assumptions prove to be false.


Identify project constraints

Describe the real-world limits for the project. Constraints are usually mandated, unavoidable, or may prevent delivering the project in the most appropriate way. Types of constraints are budget, schedule, staff, equipment, facilities and infrastructure, etc.


Identify key project deliverables

Describe high-level key deliverables. A deliverable is a measurable, tangible, verifiable outcome, result, or item that must be produced to complete a project or part of a project.



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Updated February 1, 2006 - v1.0