Posted by tac_admin, March 26, 2014

How to Manage Solution Scope

study-table-1275249-mAccording to the BABOK® Guide, managing solution scope is defined as “obtaining and maintaining consensus among key stakeholders regarding the overall solution scope and the requirements that will be implemented.”

Solution scope management is used to determine if a requirement supports business needs and goals. It involves receiving requirements approval from the appropriate stakeholders and supervising any problems that may emerge during the project. Solution scope can change at any time, and the BA can get approval of requirements at any time in the project analysis.

Depending upon the methodology used, requirements may be baselined after stakeholder approval, and then any changes to requirements might involve a change control process. If business needs or objectives change during a project, the solution scope changes as well. However, as the solution scope changes, so can the need for requirements (or lack of need). Solution scope / requirements and business needs influence each other and must both be assessed and managed.

A solution scope doesn’t appear from nowhere. A management plan will define the process of administering the solution scope and requirements. In fact, the solution scope itself is a requirement. Stakeholders play a significant role in helping the BA manage the scope, typically after requirements have been validated and verified.

All stakeholder requirements are analyzed for relevancy within the solution scope. While stakeholders are typically adept at identifying additional needs that the solution may be appropriate for, conflicts may come up between different groups of stakeholders or end users. This is to be expected, as everyone sees requirements and solutions differently.

This conflict must be resolved, and it usually falls to the BA to take care of it. Effective conflict resolution includes meetings with the conflicting stakeholders, asking a third party to intervene, or researching to find an attractive workaround, to name a few.

After the solution scope is determined, it falls to the BA to decide how requirements will be presented to end users and stakeholders. Formal and informal presentations are effective and accepted. The BA will take into account the audience, requirements, scope, and current business communication in determining how formal the presentation will be. The aim is to ensure that the stakeholders responsible for approving requirements understand and accept the requirements. The BA may choose to elicit approval from stakeholders personally or as a collective group.

Common techniques used to manage the solution scope include:

  • Problem tracking
  • Baselining
  • Requirements signoff, which is typically in person with someone in authority.

Typically, after requirements signoff, a stakeholder (or group of stakeholders) is asked to approve the final requirements document. This approval may be verbal or nonverbal. The BA must know well which stakeholders are able to sign off on which requirements.

According to BABOK® , examples of signatory stakeholders include:

  • Domain SME
  • Implementation SME
  • Project Manager
  • Sponsor

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