Published here August, 2004.

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Stephen Devaux published this book in 1999. In it, Stephen attempts to establish a common metric, quantitative data and analysis, by which the project can not only be managed, but also compared to every other project conducted by the organization. In his Preface, Stephen observes:[1]

"The head of a construction company erecting a downtown skyscraper, the pharmacologist overseeing clinical trials for a new drug, the account manager supervising the development of a database for a Fortune 100 client - all three are engaged in project management. Yet chances are that the things they do are very different. ... But out side of the work itself, all these projects actually have a great deal in common.
  • Each has a schedule ...
  • Each has resources ...
  • Each has a budget ...
  • Each is going to run into unforeseen circumstances ...
Most important of all, each has a scope of work to be accomplished. [But] traditional project management [methodologies] are unable to deal with work scope in an acceptable quantifiable manner. As a result, traditional project management "factors out" work scope from the management process by assuming it to be a "prerequisite" to the process.

The traditional approach is: "Once you determine your work scope, we can provide you with a multitude of quantitative techniques for planning, scheduling, resource budgeting, and tracking your project." All of these techniques are based on a defined and constant work scope.


However, the work itself is never quantified in a way that can support decision making ... Other than saying that "Scope definition is important," modern project management is silent."

As many of us have experienced, for example in software development, project scope can in fact be highly variable. Since the book was written, there has been an exponential increase in these types of projects giving rise to interest in project portfolio management. So, there is clearly a need for a common metric upon which acceptance or rejection of competing projects can be based. This is true whether the projects are contemplated or on going, and extends to decisions on changes to their respective work scopes.

As Stephen observes:[2]

Precisely because work scope varies greatly from project to project, and even over time, within a single project, the ability to manage that changing work scope is vital:
  • To ensure a satisfactory level of quality for acceptable cost.
  • To select the best elements of scope to cut when forced to do so in order to meet schedule and/or budgetary requirements.
  • To increase scope where the project's return on investment (ROI) can be enhanced by the additional deliverables(s)
  • To determine which of many possible project work scopes should be undertaken as part of the multi-project portfolio.

In his book, Stephen introduces a number of metrics with catchy names to support his "theories". We'll describe some of these in our next section.


1. Devaux, S.A., Total Project Control, Wiley, NY, 1999, p xvii
2. Ibid. p xix
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