Defining (Scope) the Project

The most important and difficult part of the project is its beginning. A project's initiator is almost always unclear about important aspects of the project. Project personnel tend to stress their own points of view during the stage of defining and structuring the project. If this set of personal biases and interests is left unchecked, disaster can result and the project is doomed to failure even before it starts. However, such a disaster can be avoided by discussions between the client, prime contractor and the project manager at the project's inception. This is just one of many reasons why the project manager must be involved in the project from the beginning to its completion.

In defining the project scope Artiva Group identifies and addresses five critical issues which are:

What is expected from the project
Project Goals
Project Objectives
Success Criteria
Assumptions, Risks, Obstacles

What is Expected from the Project

In this step the project initiator focuses on producing the Project Overview Statement (POS). It states what is to be done, why it is to be done, and what business value it will provide to the enterprise if it is done. The main purpose of the POS is to secure senior management approval, and the resources to develop a detailed plan for the project. Once approved the POS becomes the foundation for future planning and execution of the project. It becomes the reference for questions or conflicts regarding project scope and purpose.

Establishing the Project Goal

By stating in clear terms what is to be accomplished, the goal statement will be used as a continual point of reference for any questions arising regarding scope or purpose.

Define the Project Objectives

The purpose of the objective statements is to clarify the boundaries of the goal statement. Taken together the goal and objective statements define the boundaries (the scope) of your project. In fact, the objective statements for a specific goal statement are nothing more than a decomposition of the goal statement into a set of necessary and sufficient objective statements. That is, every objective must be accomplished in order to reach the goal.

It is also important to keep in mind that the objective statements are the current objective statements. They may change during the course of planning the project. This will happen as the details of the work are defined and other pertinent information (i.e., from field scouting) are available. Objective statement must be SMART:

S pecific Be specific in targeting objectives
M easurable Establish a measurable indicators of progress (EVM) 
A ssignable Make the objective assignable to one person for completion
R ealistic State what can realistically be done with available resources
T ime-related State when the objective can be achieved (duration)

Identify the Success Criteria

Whatever the criteria is used it must answer the question, "What must happen in order for the project to be declared complete and successful?". Success criteria is a statement of the business value to be achieved and therefore gives a basis for senior management to authorize the prime contractor's resources to do the detail planning. It is essential that the criteria be quantifiable and measurable.

List Assumptions, Risks, Obstacles

The project manager must alert senior management of any potential factors that may interfere with project work. These factors may affect deliverables, the realization of the success criteria, the ability of the project team to complete the project as planned, or any other environmental or organizational conditions that are relevant to the project.

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When the business unit of the project requestor approves the project it only provides a high-level view and what needs to be done. It does not provide the totality of the tasks. It is now the project manager's responsibility to uncover the details and complexity of the project, and develope a plan that will document a detailed course of action that will ensure the successful completion of the project.

The accuracy of estimates are three fold:

Project Scope at Project inception(1) -25% to +75%
Pre-Scout Project Scope(2) -10% to +25%
Post-Scout Project Scope(2) -5% to +10%

(1)High-Level Estimate

(2)Using Project Management Best-Practices


Field Scouting

The success of the seismic project (cost and duration estimate)depends on the knowledge of the area where the project is located. Artiva Group utilizes three levels of field scouting resulting in significant savings. The scouting results are submitted to the client in a detailed Scouting Report for potential project revisions. The scope of the work is then modified and finalized to address issues unknown prior field scouting. 

Field Scouting is very important. Sloppy field scouting is the major reason for project scope changes. Unfortunately, many companies which are hired to perform this task do not fully recognize or realize the importance of field scouting, resulting in additional costs to the client.

Accurate and Realistic Scope of the Work to be done is a concrete foundation for accurate, realistic and sound project plan.

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The project manager is the only person on the project who is not allowed to say "I am not sure, I don't know, I didn't know"

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To ensure your projects are
completed on time, within budget and to specifications, use Artiva Group to plan, control, launch, manage and close your next seismic project.

The project has never happened before and will never happen again under the same conditions...

Project Management is a specific management process

Planning, launching, executing and controlling are based on specific management processes, NOT ON MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVES.

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Call us and reverse the failure trend to success - every time


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