National Project Management System Directive on Scope Management for Real Property Projects

1. Effective date

June 2013 (updated March 8, 2018)

2. Authority

This directive is issued under the authority of the Director General (DG), Professional and Technical Service Management (PTSM) Sector, Real Property Branch (RPB), Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), and updated under the authority of the DG, Service Lead, Project Management, Real Property Services (RPS), PSPC.

3. Context

This directive shall be read in conjunction with the PSPC Policy on the National Project Management System (106) (available on Government of Canada network only) and the National Project Management System Directive for Real Property Projects.

4. Scope

This directive applies to all PSPC employees involved in the management of real property projects that follow the National Project Management System (NPMS).

5. Purpose

This directive describes the components and requirements of scope management within the development process of real property NPMS projects.

6. Details of the directive

6.1 Scope development

Scope development includes the steps required to develop and ensure that the project includes all and only the required work. Project scope development is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project.

To define the scope of the project, the project team must evaluate the project components. One component is the scope of the built works and the scope of the construction contract and goods contracts to deliver the project. For example, a typical fit-up project may include the following deliverables: renovations, furniture, signage, and cabling. This is the physical scope of the project or product scope.

Other components of the scope are the soft-costs or service contracts: consultants, PSPC, landlord, cost estimator, mover, and other service contracts. The services can be delivered “in-house” (internal to PSPC) or through contracts with others.

Finally, the scope shall include the activities needed to deliver the project such as schematic design, preparation of contract documents, construction related activities, and all the NPMS deliverables. Together, all of these components are the scope of the project.

The five steps to scope development are outlined in sections 6.1.1 through to 6.1.5 below:

6.1.1 Requirements collection

Requirements collection is the defining and documenting of the project’s needs in order to meet the project’s objectives.

Through the life cycle of the project, this documentation may include the following:

These documents shall be reviewed and analyzed by the entire project team in enough detail to be able to scope the project requirements correctly. These requirements become the foundation of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) (see details in subsection 6.1.3), milestones, activities, cost estimates and schedules.

6.1.2 Scope definition

The project team shall work together to prepare a detailed scope definition, which produces the project deliverables (scope of physical deliverables, services and activities).

All scope definitions must include a discussion of project assumptions and constraints. “Assumptions” are unknowns and “constraints” are factors that limit the project team’s options. All assumptions and constraints should feed into the project risk management plan.

The scope is further refined as more information becomes available and the project progresses.

6.1.3 Work Breakdown Structure development

The Work Breakdown Structure divides a project scope into smaller and more manageable pieces. The WBS can be developed based on project phases, activities, or physical deliverables and services. PSPC's minimum standard for WBS includes a phased WBS for reporting; however, project managers should develop a WBS to the level of detail that is required to manage the scope of the project. For more information, refer to the WBS found in Annex A of the Guidelines for the preparation of project plans

The actual project work is contained within the lowest level WBS and is referred to as activities or as work packages, which can be scheduled, cost-estimated, monitored, and controlled. The process of breaking down the WBS into activities, produces the activity list, which then becomes input to the scheduling process.

Project managers must ensure that the WBS, milestone list, and activity list include sufficient and appropriate detail so as to not put a burden on the management of the project, but rather to effectively monitor, control, and report on project progresses.

The advantage of the WBS is that it allows the project team to preview what is included in the project and to better understand how the various stages will come together to produce the final product.

6.1.4 Scope verification

Scope verification is the process of formal review and acceptance of the project deliverables. While scope definition occurs throughout the project in a progressive amount of detail, the verification of scope occurs at each phase in the project when the phase is approved. The two most important times during which scope is verified are at the project management plan (PMP) approval and turn-over approval control points.

When the PMP is written, the project manager must meet with the project leader to define the scope in enough detail to have a clear understanding of what is included in the project. This information is then communicated back to the project leader in the PMP to outline the scope of the project, along with the project manager’s proposed implementation plan to achieve this scope, and the cost estimates and schedule based on the scope described. The PMP is the project manager’s commitment to the project. The scope is verified at the time the PMP is accepted by the project leader for Federal Accommodation and Holdings (FAH) projects, or through the project charter for OGD projects (see section 6.2.3). Before approval by the regional manager (project management) or project director, the PMP undergoes a quality assurance review. For more information, refer to the National Project Management System Directive on Real Property Project Reviews.

The scope must also be verified at the time of turn-over approval at the end of the implementation phase, when the project leader accepts the physical work of the project, and the responsibility of the built works is transferred from the project manager to the project leader.

6.1.5 Scope control

Regardless of how the scope is defined, the project team must manage the scope by regularly verifying that the scope is captured and the work is being delivered, that no additional work is being added to the project (“scope creeping”) and that the work is being delivered to the appropriate quality.

All changes to the scope must go through the proper change management procedures that have been established by the project team, and include an analysis of how the change will affect the schedule, cost, quality, and project risk. The changes must be properly documented with the scope management forms (scope change form, scope change summary), or any other appropriate process.

6.2. Scope maintenance

6.2.1 Project inception stage

Definition phase

During the project inception stage, not all project details are known. As such, the milestone list must be developed in sufficient detail for input into the statement of requirements and to monitor the project to the end of the project identification stage (project approval [PA]/expenditure authority [EA]).

6.2.2 Project identification stage

Initiation phase

Once direction of the project has been set out in the statement of requirements approval (SoRA), schedules and risk assessment can start to be developed, with sufficient detail based on the SoRA, to the end of the project identification stage.

Review and update the scope documents for their inclusion in the preliminary project plan (PPP).

Ensure that the milestone lists within the PPP, project charter, schedules, and reports have the same milestones and milestone dates, and are based on the SoRA.

Feasibility phase

During the feasibility phase, the project scope shall be further defined, as more information about the project becomes known. Existing risks, assumptions, and constraints are reviewed and additional risks, assumptions, and constraints are added as necessary, removed, or mitigated.

Analysis phase

Based on the feasibility report approval, an investment analysis report (IAR) shall be prepared. Include activities to obtain effective project approval (EPA) and develop basic construction tender and construction durations for inclusion in the IAR submission.

Identification close-out phase

The purpose of the identification close-out phase is to ensure an appropriate level of assessment, reporting, evaluation, hand-over, and administrative closure has taken place that will provide enough directional detail for the project manager to proceed to the delivery stage.

In light of the PA/EA decision obtained in the analysis phase, ensure that the scope documents have been updated, and that the identification close-out document prepared during this phase identifies the location of the updated documents.

6.2.3 Project delivery stage

During the project delivery stage, the project manager shall ensure that the defined scope is incorporated into relevant documents during the planning and design stages of the project.

For other government departments' (OGD) projects, a specific service agreement and a project charter shall be established between the client and the PSPC project manager to confirm project objectives, scope, timing, and funding.

Planning phase

The purpose of the planning phase is to initiate project start-up activities and to ensure that the project scope (in terms of objectives and requirements) provides sufficient detail to allow for the preparation of a PMP that will provide complete project instructions to the project team.

As described in the National Project Management System Directive on Real Property Project Reviews, some projects may require a formal review of the PMP. Revise scope as required following the suggestions of the project review advisory committee.

At the time of planning, the project team must decide how each element of the project is to be implemented i.e. how the work is to be contracted and which elements of the scope shall be included in which contract. All elements of physical work must be accounted for.

The definition of the physical scope of the project occurs prior to the project manager writing the PMP. Most often this is done through a series of meetings between the project manager and the project leader. The physical scope must be defined in sufficient detail that the project manager can prepare estimates, risk plans, and schedules for the project that are included in the PMP. If the project leader and project manager are not able to do this, the project manager shall recommend to the project leader that additional analysis is required to define the physical scope.

For OGD projects, the project manager should be able to offer tools to the OGD project leader to define the scope, such as functional programs or option analysis. However, it is important that the project manager resists pressure from the client to obtain consultant services when the physical scope is not adequately defined. The OGD project leader can be encouraged to go back to the project identification stage and obtain the services of PSPC to review options and provide cost estimates that will help them determine the direction in which to proceed with the project.

When the project leader and project manager are able to define the physical scope in enough detail, the project manager shall incorporate this information into the PMP. The PMP becomes the project manager’s commitment as to how the project will be delivered and he/she is accountable for meeting this plan. When the project leader signs the PMP, he/she confirms his/hers agreement with the project manager’s plan to deliver the project.

Design phase
Professional services procurement

Professional services are required on all projects to provide planning documents, procurement documents, design, advice, and contract administration for all elements of work. The scope of physical work will define the scope of professional services required to deliver this work. The project team must determine what work will be performed “in-house” (i.e. from service providers within PSPC), and what will be performed by consultants.

For work to be performed “in-house”, resources must be assigned. For work performed by consultants, the project team must define the elements of the project scope that each consultant will be responsible for. For instance, consider what sub-consultants the primary consultant will need; for example, an audio visual consultant may be needed if there will be extensive audio visual work Then the detailed list of scope that the consultant will be responsible for must be described. For example, the electrical consultant must be aware that he will be doing security system design. The more clearly the services are defined in the contract documents, the less likely there will be amendments.

The professional services may be set up to include multiple contracts of work. For example, the primary consultant may be responsible for preparing drawings for the design of the construction work, as well as for documents for procurement of furniture. However, specific work may also be excluded from the consultant contract (for example structured cabling may be completed by a consultant procured by Shared Services Canada). Ensure that all elements of the work are captured and that a plan is in place to have procurement documents prepared for all elements of work.

Design development

As the design progresses, the project team must reassess the scope at each deliverable. For example, the consultant will submit three documents during the design stages: pre-design report, concept design report, and design development report. At each of the design stages, which become progressively more detailed, the entire scope must be described. This is essential to ensure that all elements of work are included in each cost estimate.

At each stage during the design phase, the project cost estimates must be verified against the project budgets. The project manager, in consultation with the project leader, shall accept or reject the cost estimates prepared for the submission. If the cost estimate is within the project budget, the cost estimate may be accepted. The balance between the scope and cost becomes apparent when the project costs exceed the project budgets, which can occur during the design, tender, or construction stages. This is typically resolved by a value engineering exercise. Options cost during this exercise should not serve to reduce the scope, but to find less expensive methods to achieve the same scope. Most PSPC contracts compel the consultant to redesign at any stage for no additional fees, including after tender, to meet the project budget.

Implementation phase

In the implementation phase, the scope of the project is converted into procurement documents, which are plans and specifications to describe the deliverables. The project team shall review the submissions of the plans and specifications (quality assurance) to ensure that the entire scope is included in the contract. All work must be defined in adequate detail to ensure that it is included in the contract documents.

During this phase, the scope of the project is converted into physical work. The work shall be completed by the contractor in accordance with the contract documents. The scope shall be verified by the designer, PSPC, and the client at substantial completion stage. The consultant shall verify that the work is in accordance with the plans and specifications. The project manager shall verify that the contract is completed. The project leader shall verify that the scope is complete when the project is accepted.

Delivery close-out phase

During the delivery close-out phase, the deficiencies are completed and the final documents are prepared on the project. The project team should refer to the close-out document to ensure all work is completed.

7. Responsibilities

The project leader is responsible for:

The project manager is responsible for:

8. Definitions

Activity list:
A project activity list identifies all activities, including milestones completed, and all activities underway, including milestones for the specific reporting period, normally four to twelve weeks into the future.
Functional program:
A functional program documents the clients’ requirements, including the accommodation impacts of their changing programs. The development of client requirements is an important foundation for projects to proceed, through the full delivery process and to successfully meet the clients’ needs.
Milestone list:
A milestone list identifies all project milestones. The milestone list includes all reviews and approvals at all stages of the project, milestones required to track long lead items and start and completion of project phases and project approvals.
Product scope (or physical scope):
The product scope is comprised of the features and functions that characterize a product or service, i.e. how will it look like, how will it function, etc. It is the outcome of the project.
Project scope:
The project scope includes all the work needed to be done to complete the project successfully. The project scope is all about the project, it defines the requirements of products, the work required to create the product, and defines what falls within the scope of the project and what does not.
Project brief:
The project brief (also called terms of reference) describes the services to be provided by the consultant, permitting the consultant to proceed with the services, and may include general project information, scope of work, site and design data, and schedules specifically related to the project.
Value engineering:
Value engineering is a systematic approach to optimizing life-cycle costs for the project, resulting in a design with improved value, achieving effectiveness in cost, time, and optimal quality and performance. Value engineering is a collaborative engagement between a group of multi-disciplinary professionals.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS):
A WBS is a graphic, deliverable-oriented indent tree of project elements that organizes and defines the total project scope of work. The WBS should be developed through at least five levels: project, stage, element, sub-element and work package.

9. References

Public Services and Procurement Canada publications

10. Enquiries

Please direct all enquiries about this directive to the Project Management Service Line Center of Expertise at

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