It’s the beginning of a new year, and for many of us that means a new to-do list of projects to take on. You’re not alone if that list feels daunting! But in our years working with nonprofits and skilled volunteers, we’ve found that the key to getting things done is getting specific and staying focused with an initial project scope.
An initial project scope clearly outlines the project’s goal, the work required, the people involved, and the timeline for completion. Now is the time to create the best scope you can, don’t be tempted to wait till you have every detail!
But what should your initial project scope include? Start by writing down your best answers to these four questions:
1: What’s In-Scope – What will this project accomplish?
List the activities and/or deliverables that your team will strive to complete. Wherever possible, include specific estimates of the quantity or quality needed.
2: What’s Out-of-Scope – What will this project not accomplish?
What you don’t do is just as important as what you do. Clearly spell out what you won’t be doing in this project to keep everyone on track.
3: What are the Completion Criteria – How will you know when the project is complete?
Work can drag on for a long time unless you define what completion looks like at the beginning. Try starting items in this list with the phrase “The project is complete when…” to get the ball rolling.
4: What Logistics are needed – What resources will be required?
Here’s where planning kicks into high gear. In this section, describe the timeline for the project’s completion as well as any resources needed to complete the project successfully.
And there you have it. With these four areas clearly defined, you’re ready to begin assembling your internal team and refining your project outline! Completing this stage to the best of your ability will ensure that you are prepared to make a strong and compelling case to your pro bono team.
Have you created a 4-step initial project scope before? Tell us on social through the buttons below, or reach out through our contact page! We’d love to hear your story and learn from your work.