Scope Management Plan PMP

Mastering Scope Management Plan in PMP: A Comprehensive Guide

Project Management Professionals use a Scope Management Plan to map out the steps the team will follow to achieve the project’s approved goals. This plan is a powerful tool for keeping the project team on schedule and within budget.

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PMI, PMP, and Scope Management Knowledge Area

Project Management Institute® (PMI) is a global professional organization advancing the project management profession through practice standards, certifications, and more. PMI’s Project Management Professional® (PMP) certification is focused on core project management knowledge. To earn a PMP, you must pass the PMP certification exam, which may assess your understanding of the 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas, such as Scope Management.

Scope Management Plan Process and Purpose

A project manager uses Project Scope Management processes to document the scope of the project so that the project team works towards creating the project deliverable within the project plan.

  1. Planning: define the project work and the scope baseline, and create a scope statement.
  2. Controlling: monitor progress against the scope management plan, track scope changes, and manage scope creep.
  3. Closing: audit final deliverables against the original scope management plan and project plan.

The project manager uses project requirements to create a Scope Management Plan that:

  • manages stakeholder expectations,
  • keeps the work aligned to goals throughout the project and
  • manages (or prevents) scope creep

Scope Management Plan Benefits

There is value in being prepared for scope management plan PMP certification exam questions, but the real benefits of a scope management plan are for your projects. A project manager with a strong scope management plan can:

  1. Maintain alignment to shared goals: reduce time spent addressing misunderstandings among project stakeholders.
  2. Prevent scope creep: reduce time and money spent on out-of-scope efforts.
  3. Realize more accurate estimates: increase the accuracy of resource, cost, and time estimates from the clearly defined scope.
  4. Improve stakeholder communication: prevent misunderstanding with stakeholder communications on scope changes, scope creep, and progress.

Project Management Knowledge Area Integration

Scope management is integrated with other project management knowledge areas:

  • cost management,
  • integration management,
  • quality management,
  • risk management, and
  • time management.

Good Project Management has an integrated scope management plan and project scope management efforts.

Scope Management Plan Components

Within Project Management standards, the Scope Management Plan will include:

  1. Scope Statement: The scope statement is the foundation of the Scope Management Plan, listing the project’s objectives, deliverables, assumptions, constraints, and exclusions.
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): The work breakdown structure is a hierarchical diagram of the project scope organized into manageable work packages and used to determine which work packages are in scope.
  • Scope Baseline: agreement of project deliverables created by the project manager using the Scope Statement and Work Breakdown Structure.
  • Scope Change Control Process: defines how proposed scope changes are evaluated, approved, and implemented using change request assessment criteria, decision-making roles, and communication processes.

Steps to Create a Scope Management Plan

There is no “scope management plan PMP,” but there are proven approaches to creating a scope management plan.

Step 1. Determine Scope Definition: identify the project’s objectives, deliverables, constraints, assumptions, and exclusions in a formal written document.

Step 2. Write a Scope Statement: serves as the reference point for determining what is “in scope” and “out-of-scope” for the project.

Step 3. Create a Scope Management Plan: document how the scope will be managed via the team roles and responsibilities, the change control process, and the scope change management processes.

Step 4. Confirm Scope Verification Process: functions as guide how deliverables are assessed and the process for their acceptance.

Step 5: Document the Scope Change Control Process: states how scope changes are assessed and, if approved, then implemented.

Common Scope Management Plan Challenge: Scope Creep

Scope Creep” refers to incremental, minor changes that expand the project scope. When work is added without activating change controls, risks include:

  • schedule delays,
  • budget overages,
  • stakeholder misunderstandings, and
  • inaccurate project documentation.

A Scope management plan with project requirements and ongoing, timely stakeholder communication can limit scope creep.

Scope Management Best Practices

A savvy project manager employs continuous improvement techniques for effective scope management.

  • Change Control Process: used to assess and incorporate scope changes to prevent scope creep.
  • Lessons Learned: apply validated scope management tools and techniques.
  • Performance Measurement: maintain project performance monitoring against the scope baseline to take timely action and keep work within plans.
  • Stakeholder Communication: engage with stakeholders regarding how the work is progressing and the impact of changes.


A Scope Management Plan helps keep the project scope within defined boundaries through the planning, controlling, and closing processes. A project manager needs to know the scope management plan’s purpose, components, and benefits to prepare for the PMP® certification exam and be a successful project manager.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO