What Are You Doing? How to Define Scope.

To do List Notepad
To do List Notepad from Lupa

In my last post I described ‘Scope’ as the ‘What’ of project management. Scope describes what kind of projects, activities and deliverables are required to meet your goals.

Like most Scoutie Girl readers, I have big ideas, big goals, big ambitions. I’m constantly schemin’ and dreamin’ and sometimes I get overrun with so many ideas that I can become almost paralyzed by all of the possibilities. This is when ‘defining scope’ helps me to map the way forward.

‘Defining scope’ helps to map the way forward.

We’re all frustratingly aware of how finite time is. That’s why it’s important to define our objectives, and then take the necessary time to thoughtfully sort out what we need to do meet those objectives.

Defining scope is simple. It starts with basic brainstorming to figure out what you need to do to achieve your goals, and then breaking those activities down into more granular tasks and activities.

Let’s say you make jewelry and you have a goal to increase your online sales by 30%. What are some of the things you can do to make this happen? Scope items typically start with verbs. For example, you could:

  • Open a storefront on an additional online marketplace
  • Write a monthly post on your blog about jewelry care
  • Optimize the content on your site for related keywords and better Google rankings

These are projects and activities that map directly to your original goal of increasing online sales. Some of the bigger items, like opening a new store front, yield more specific tasks and require more definition. To open a storefront, for example, you may need to:

  • Research the online marketplace (rankings, demographics, etc.)
  • Write new product and store copy
  • Re-edit photos to meet new store size requirements
  • Develop a social media campaign to announce your new store

In addition to the scope that maps to your objectives, you’ll need to consider the stuff you’ll have to do for fulfillment, in this case, making the jewelry. Everything you have to do is scope.

Breaking down scope helps give you a clear picture of what you need to do to accomplish your goals.

Breaking down scope helps give you a clear picture of what you need to do to accomplish your goals. The level of detail is up to you, as is the tool. Some people like mind maps, others like lists. It really doesn’t matter as long as it works for you.

How about you? Do you have a process, intuitive or otherwise, that you use for defining scope?

2 thoughts on “What Are You Doing? How to Define Scope.

  1. I so hear you on the chance of becoming overrun with ideas. Personally I’m a list maker – and breaking down the goals into manageable scoped lists really helps me.

    I also have one notebook that is slated just for ideas and I date the idea at the top of the page as soon as I jot it down. This idea could be either an art illustration I wish to create to an idea for a blog post, etc.

    In avoiding the overwhelmed feeling one can have with multitasking so much with life and career by the larger goals of projects, one task I perform every six months is to create a huge list of all my open projects (work, career, home, art, etc.) and see which one’s are still operable, inactive or need to be dropped entirely.

    I can see with this larger list which projects have been dormant for such a long time, that I can either let it go, or review it for reactivating it. This also assists me in prioritizing those projects as well as the scoped lists of action steps.

    Thank you for sharing your tips!

  2. I think I write down, adjust and think of new goals every month and write them down in my business journal. Then I break them down in smaller steps set deadlines and on a daily basis I write to do lists.

    This is not a really strict workaround but it happens when I feel the need to reflect on what I am doing and want to see the bigger picture. Get the bird’s-eye view instead of the Worm’s-eye view.

    What I also do is look back once a year and write down highlights or milestones (big and tiny) to see the steps I have taken so far in the last year. It’s also a good way to see if the steps you took led you to achieve your goal and it motivates me because I realize (most of the times) I’ve done so much already.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *