Dear PM Advisor, Aug 12, 2013

Dear PM Advisor, I like your idea of displaying project exclusions. But what is your mechanism for surfacing and displaying them? 

Out in Somerset, NJ

Dear Out,

Exclusions are things that could be considered part of the scope of a project but, for reasons of other constraints, we are not choosing to do. In order to prevent false expectations, we need to highlight the fact that these things are excluded from the project's scope.

Often these exclusions are surfaced during the early stages of a project, before planning, and end up in the documents used to authorize a project. But it is during the Planning Phase that we must highlight them. The last thing we want is for powerful stakeholders to believe their pet part of the project is within scope until it is too late and them be disappointed at your' deception.' Make sure they know from day one of the Project Implementation that what they are looking for is not in the project. Then they will push for a Phase II of this product.

But what is the mechanisim? During the Work Breakdown Structure session, as a team, we determine the deliverables of the project. When people bring up items that we agree are not part of the scope of the project, we list them on the flipchart entitled: Exclusions. Continue adding to this throughout the planning session as more false expectations surface.

When you publish your project plan, have a section entitled: Exclusions, and list all these items. But don't lust bulletize scope items under this title or some people will read them and assume they are within scope since they are listed in the Project Plan. Instead, list them in sentence form with the words NOT or ONLY somewhere in the sentence. As in: 'Does not include 14 inch diameter products." or: "Only green and yellow colors are included."

Good luck,

PM Advisor

Send your questions to Bruce@RoundTablePM.com