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Practical Guide to Project Scope Management

Clarion Review (2 Stars)

There is no doubt that project scope management—the ability to manage all aspects of a project—is critically important in every type of business. A key issue that often undermines the successful completion of a project is “scope creep,” which occurs when a project goes beyond the established budget or timeframe parameters.

Shyamkumar Narayana’s Practical Guide to Project Scope Management addresses the topic in four chapters. The author begins with a brief overview of project scope management. He describes the case of a $1 million, twelve-month project that could turn out very differently based on how scope creep is managed. If, for example, the project exceeds the established budget or timeframe without having a project management process in place, the company creating the project could be liable for the overruns. On the other hand, if the customer has signed off on the changes that occurred, there is evidence of an agreement to the additional cost or extra time, so the customer is liable. This is a valid example which puts the importance of project management in perspective.

In chapter 2, the author offers six specific factors for a proper scope management process to be in place in an organization: a scope management plan, a change control board, discussion and sign-off, version control, a list of key stakeholders, and a list of key deliverables. Narayana does a good job of describing each of these factors.

In chapter 3, the author provides abbreviated examples of projects in which scope creep can occur. In chapter 4, the author offers a one-paragraph conclusion.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the information the author provides, and Narayana’s scope creep examples are meaningful. The problem is that the author barely scratches the surface of the topic.

Project scope management deserves a far more thorough, in-depth discussion, particularly in a book positioned as a “practical guide.” Typically, a guide is a step-by-step manual intended to function as a how-to primer for novices, and as a refresher course for those who are more experienced.

Unfortunately, the content of Practical Guide to Project Scope Management is so lacking in detail that it is difficult to define this work. With four chapters, twenty-five total pages, and only eleven pages of actual text, this guide reads more like an article in a project management journal. While the Practical Guide to Project Scope Management does offer a good preliminary overview for someone with only limited knowledge of project scope management, there are likely to be other authoritative sources available that cover the subject more adequately.

Barry Silverstein