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How to Identify Scope Risks for Clear Sailing

It’s not too hard to believe that some of us do not have a perfect understanding of scope. But when the idea of scope is fuzzy, it will not be possible to identify all the critical scope risks—which can be costly. In a post for the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall says, “It’s like an overdrawn bank account. There are all kinds of penalties and fees” when scope risks are left unaddressed.

There Is No Sunken Treasure

So what are scope risks? Once the project objectives are outlined, there is a possibility of “uncertain events or conditions” that will either improve or hurt the project. Those are risks. And scope casts a big net, comprising the sum of products, services, and results to be delivered during the project. The features and functions of the products, services, and results meanwhile compose product scope. Project scope then is the work required to create deliverables.

How can you identify risks across the varied scope? Here are a lists of ways: interviews with key stakeholders, brainstorming, checklists, assumptions analysis, cause and effect diagrams, nominal group technique (NGT), affinity diagrams, and work breakdown structure (WBS). Hall has this to say about assumption analysis:

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines an assumption as “factors that are considered to be true, real, or certain without proof or demonstration.” Assumptions are sources of risk. Project managers should ask stakeholders, “What assumptions do you have concerning this project?” Document these assumptions and associated risks.

You will not need to use all of these techniques for every project. You will only need to use a handful maybe. Select the processes that will be most logical for your project. The important thing is to understand as many knowns and known unknowns as possible, to minimize or exploit risks as they actually occur.

You can access the original post here:

About Melissa Colon

Melissa is a staff writer for AITS, with a background in journalism. She has previously written for York Dispatch and York Daily Record.

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