Evolution of Scope
The division of the life of a project into a series of distinct stages provides
the project manager and the sponsor with a mechanism for guiding and controlling
the evolution of the project scope. Evolution, as used here, does not mean change.
It means elaboration or progressive expansion of detail. As McCoy suggests, the
project objectives do not change at each successive stage, but the definition
becomes more exact.
The elaboration of scope is a process of creation and innovation. The design
process can be characterized as a series of choices from among creatively conceived
alternatives. The "top down" or hierarchic approach to design development casts
the design choices into the question: What is the best way to subdivide a component
or system into subcomponents or subsystems, each with a distinct function to perform?
The expansion of the WBS to a lower level reflects the decision taken in response
to this question. As illustrated in Figure 2,
the detailing and expansion of the WBS follows the elaboration of configuration
detail through design choices.
The preceding description of design development uses terminology familiar to
architects, engineers, systems analysts, and programmers. However, the process
of guided elaboration has universal application. The mounting of a theatrical
production, for example, can and should develop in a structured fashion. From
a script containing only dialogue and sketchy stage directions, the director must
oversee the development of detailed specifications for lighting, costumes, sound,
scenery, props, casting, choreography, and movement. All these characteristics
of the end product are determined through a series of creative decisions that
should all reflect a coherent expression of artistic (and perhaps commercial)
intent. The elements of the WBS in this example perhaps would consist of acts,
scenes, and settings.
F.A. Measuring Success. Establishing and Maintaining a Baseline. Proceedings of
the 1986 Seminar/Symposium Drexel Hill, PA: The Project Management Institute,