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How to Manage Scope Change in a Web Project

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Defining and managing scope is one of the most important aspects of web project management. Learn the standard techniques for defining and controlling scope, why the standard techniques seem to fail for most Web projects, and the latest best practices that seem to work for the Web.
This chapter is from the book

Key Topics

  • Classic Scope Control

  • Managing Scope Change

The scope of a project is the set of affordable systems and software that the project team has agreed to deliver.

Defining and managing scope is one of your most important responsibilities. By the end of this chapter, you will have the answers to these three important questions about scope:

  1. What are the standard techniques for defining and controlling scope?

  2. Why do the standard techniques seem to fail for most Web projects?

  3. What are the latest best practices that seem to work for the Web?

A New Perspective on Scope

Most standard models for software development assume a fixed scope that can be clearly defined at the outset of a project before any work begins. This presents a problem, since Web sites constantly evolve in a changing technological and business environment. In this chapter you'll learn to look at scope organically, as a collection of requirements that need to be described, documented, and managed as they grow. We'll also examine processes that embrace change through the use of iteration. These newer approaches allow the requirements to evolve through a series of small releases, showing early results and incorporating client feedback during production.

Iteration   The process of making incremental refinements to software. The product gradually evolves in a series of working prototypes. These prototypes incorporate client feedback into each release cycle.

During its initial stages, scope definition is analogous to a legal agreement between two parties. As you draft the first round of requirements documents, your goal is to create a "contract" between yourself and the project stakeholders, in which you agree on the features of the site you are about to build. The key to success is defining what you intend to deliver and how you plan to deliver it while obtaining the client's consent before implementation begins. Once work has begun, the project documentation will grow and change with each iteration of the product. Project management theorists have come up with a standard methodology to guide you through this process.

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