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This document is also located in Box.

You can use the scoping table on this page as a template for your project documentation. You can also use it as a team exercise when scoping a project.

Team Exercise

When using it as a team exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Before the work session, create the table on a white board or some poster-sized post-its, allowing plenty of space for participants to add content under each column. 
  2. Provide the participants with plenty of post-it notes (3x5 or 4x5 are a good size) and pens.
  3. Talk them through the scoping considerations (see below), in the left column, before inviting them to write and post their items. 
  4. Give participants time to think about what is in and out of scope for the project. Have them write down one item per post-it note and post it under one of the columns. Encourage discussion as they are posting the items–this leads to a more complete collection of items. (Don't worry about duplication of items at this point. Dupes can be weeded out when drafting the document.)
  5. When participants are done posting, read each post-it aloud and invite discussion, elaboration, clarification. Capture this information somehow–on the post-it, in an accompanying note, or have somebody typing up what people are saying.

Scoping Considerations

Encourage participants to consider the following factors when determining the project's scope. 

What individuals and groups will be affected by the project? Consider the following:

  • Customers who will benefit from (and who may be paying you to develop) the product or service.
  • Stakeholders, that is, anyone with skin in this project, or at least an interest in it–sponsors, customers, the team...
  • End Users–and remember, these are often not the same as the customers. 
  • Providers: What individuals, groups, and services will you be depending on in order to build this product or service?  Who will host and maintain it afterwards? 
  • Partners: What individuals or groups must your project team need pair up with to make this project a success, both in the short and long term?  The IT Service Desk? Training Services? Communications and Marketing? Others? 

What does the project look like at its various stages? What does it look like when it's done? Consider the following:

  • Deliverables: These are the goods and services that will come out of your project. Don't forget items such as end-user documentation, training, and communications.
  • Activities: Will you be conducting benchmarking?  Surveying customers or conducting focus groups? Piloting? Conducting usability and accessibility testing? Is there up-front research and analysis that needs to be assigned? 
  • Environment: What will the environment for completing this project be? Do you need development, testing, and staging servers? New tools? A different code repository? 
  • Capability (Sometimes called Business Capability): What skills are needed on the project team? What skills are not needed, and why? What training will need to take place to bring team members up to speed? Cross-training? 
  • Definition of DoneWhat does the end product look like? What constitutes a release? What acceptance criteria must code meet before it can be integrated? What testing must take place before the product or a release is shipped–unit and integrated testing, user-acceptance testing, usability/accessibility testing, xbt... What customer signoff will be collected during the course of the project and at the end? Definition of Done is an Agile concept that applies to any project.

This involves

  • Target dates for releases, milestones, need-by dates, product delivery...
  • Will the project be executed in iterative phases? Will there be incremental delivery? Will there be iterations (sprints)? 

Will the project impact just your work unit? ITS? Penn State? The World?


  • What tools and technologies will be used to develop the product or service?
  • What approach? What best practices? What methodologies?
  • Build or buy? Hire a consultant?

After the Session

Use the information gathered in the session to document the project scope. Share this document with the contributing participants (and other helpful people) in subsequent collaborative sessions (in person and/or online). Incorporate additions and changes until everyone feels that the scope is well defined at this point. 

Watch this Video

See this video on using a similar scoping template.

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