Lesson Plan 2 Defining the Project Scope and Context

Defining the project scope and context

Pre-project phase:
In this phase the project scope concerning time, tasks and social aspects is defined:

  • Project start event
  • Project end event
  • Project objectives
  • Project organization (team members)

Time context
pre-project phase, difference between project end date and project start date, post-project phase
Task context
The task context considers the relationships between business framework and project, which can be synergetic or competing.

The social context is the result of a project environment analysis  internal and external.

Business case
The business case includes pre- and post-project phase. All processes are subject to an economic analysis recording and evaluating the direct project costs and the consequential costs and benefits.

Project environmental analysis

Internal project environment
Social environments contributing to the project and assuming project roles within the project organization
External project environment
Customer, supplier, banks, departments of the company, public authorities
The relationship between the environments and the project has to be evaluated and shown in a graphic. The evaluation results in appropriate measures for relationship management.

Source: Version 3.0  September 2009  pma  PROJEKT MANAGEMENT AUSTRIA p 17-20

Project definition

Project definition defines what is in the project, what are the limits of the project, what is the scope of the project. The definition concerns 3 dimensions: tasks, time and social aspects.
Project definition clarifies the following:
What are the project goals? Non-goals? Task definition
When is the project start? What is the start event? Time definition
Who are the persons playing a role in the project? Social definition

Project context analysis

This analysis is carried out for the same three dimensions: tasks, time and social aspects.
Task context: relationship to other projects, to mission statement of organizations
Time context: pre- and post project phase
Social aspects: relationships of persons playing a role in the project or are important for the project
It is critical to find out who supports the project, and who could be a hindrance.

What are the project goals?
What are the project theme and content? What environmental issues could affect the project?
Does the project match with the mission statement of our school?
time, start date, end date

What has lead to the project?
Which decisions have already been made? Which documents do exist?
What will be different after the project? What are the costs and benefits?
Who takes which roles? Who is project manager, team member, project coach?

Which environments/stakeholders are related to the project

Project goals

Planning of a school event: Exhibition of Practice firm on Open Day
Non-goal: Exhibiton at a Practice Firm Trade Fair abroad
Goal: execution of school event, realization of planning

Goals are expected results of your work. Formulate goals by using nouns. Goal is Exhibition on Open Day, participation of a certain number students
Formulate the goals positively! Goal is profit!
Non-Goals are important. What should not be reached? Non-Goals could be goals of other projects.
Negative effects are not non-goals.
As detailed as necessary, as general as possible!
Goals have to be measurable.
Don’t describe measures how the goals should be reached.
Create a goals plan.

Main goals: school event (Goals are results – use nouns!)
Additional goals: improvement of class atmosphere (Tasks are activities. Use verbs for formulation!)

Why are goals important?

  • Goals motivate
  • Goals focus on end-date and outcome
  • Goals are a basis for efficient work
  • Taking part in formulating the goals increases identification with the project
  • Definition of goals requires prioritizing.
  • Goals affect amount of resources required.
  • Definition clarifies where to go and helps to cooperate.
  • Definition of non-goals clarifies the scope, avoids arguments about outcome



Main tasks
find a theme
create a program
plan parts
organise catering
plan finance
design invitations
place announcements
finish parts of program
prepare event
execute event
clean up
balance accounts
create report
hand in report

Time context analysis

Pre-project phase
Why this project idea?
Which problem should be solved?
What happened during the pre-project phase?
Who controlled the pre-project phase?
Who promoted the idea, who affected the idea negatively?
Which decisions have been made?
Which documents exist
Trial for solving problems?

Post-project phase
What will be after the project?
Which activities to be carried out after the project have to be thought of?
Which costs will arise after finishing the project
Which benefits?

Description of outcomes of post-project phase
Follow-up activities, benefits, costs

Project manager coordinates all activities. She/he alone has the right for amendments.

Social context: Project team


1.What does the project definition and the analysis of project context show?
2.What are the dimensions of definition and context analysis?
3.Which tools do you use for visualization of pre- and post-project phase?
4.Which tools do you use for showing goals, non-goals and main tasks?
5.What’s included in the task context?
6.Name and describe the different project roles, explain their main tasks.
7.What is the content of the social context analysis?