Even before design and construction processes begin, there is a stage of “pre-project planning” that can be critical for project success. In this process, the project scope is established. Since construction and design professionals are often not involved in this project scope stage, the terminology of describing this as a “pre-project” process has arisen. From the owner’s perspective, defining the project scope is just another phase in the process of acquiring a constructed facility.
The definition of a project scope typically involves developing project alternatives at a conceptual level, analyzing project risks and economic payoff, developing a financial plan, making a decision to proceed (or not), and deciding upon the project organization and control plan. The next few chapters will examine these different problems at some length.
The danger of poor project definition comes from escalating costs (as new items are added) or, in the extreme, project failure. A good definition of scope allows all the parties in the project to understand what is needed and to work towards meeting those needs.
Chris Hendrickson is the Duquesne Light Company Professor of Engineering and Co-Director of the Green Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research, teaching and consulting are in the general area of engineering planning and management, including design for the environment, project management, transportation systems, finance and computer applications. Prof. Hendrickson is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineering, an Emeritus Member of the Transportation Research Board and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hendrickson is also the recipient of many professional awards.