Crafting the scope and articulating the vision

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A robust definition of scope is a key tool, but expressing it appropriately takes careful thought. A clear shared vision of "what is to be" is vital but not always present. These are challenges faced by most programmes.

What is scope?

Scope means different things to different people. It needs to be defined in a language understood by the people who need to understand it and it needs to tell them what they need to know.

End users need to know the impacts on the way they work. System owners need high level information so they can plan. What can and cannot be done, what will and will not be automated, what will require additional processes, what offers will remain and which will need to be withdrawn? Developers need a technical scope. Assurance teams need all of these.

Expressing scope

A coherent expression of scope is a complex artefact, one to be crafted with care. Too often the expression of scope is treated as a trivial exercise. A list in a spreadsheet or in PowerPoint or, even worse, the tasks in a project plan. It is common for scope to prepared separately for each audience, resulting in inconsistency and confusion.

Assurance teams are avid consumers of scope and understand the different perspectives involved. We often have to consolidate scope by reconnaissance and analysis for inflight projects. We can help you get the scope defined clearly from the start so everyone shares the benefits.

You need a vision

Your vision should explain how the scope will be fulfilled. Once presented with the vision, people should be able to picture in their mind what the solution will be like once it is in place. The vision should answer all of the major questions of each of its audiences, ahead of the questions being asked.

The solution vision is a guiding artefact. It helps to hold things together, to ensure work is targeting a common result. It provides a common orientation for participants. It provides a sense check, do the key players recognise the vision as sound, achievable and aligned with the scope? It is a very important artefact.

Capturing the vision

As with scope, capturing a vision in the right form requires careful work. It needs to be concise but it needs to be comprehensive. It needs to provide views from multiple perspectives, views that are consistent. It needs exploits the strengths of both precise specification and explanatory narrative. It is part reference and part communication tool. You need vision to prepare a vision.

Scope verses Vision

The word “Scope” is used to mean many things. Here we use it to mean the general envelope of what a solution can be used to achieve. Not what the features are but what it will be possible to do effectively with the features, what ever they are, that will be provided. Vision delves into what the features are that will be provided to support the scope. Not in fine detail but in enough detail that all can understand that the solution will be like and what will be involved in applying it to achieve the things promised by the Scope. Some