By Lauren Clark-Oracle on May 31, 2012
In the third entry of the series on OUM and PMI’s Pulse of the Profession, we took a look at the continued importance of change management and risk management. The topic of scope change management and OUM’s use-case driven approach has come up in few recent conversations. So I thought I would jot down a few thoughts on how the use-case driven approach aids a project team in managing the project’s scope.
Use-case models are one of several tools in OUM used to establish and manage the project's scope. Because use-cases can be understood by both business and IT project team members, they can serve as a bridge for ongoing collaboration as well as a visual diagram that encapsulates all agreed-upon functionality. This makes them a vital artifact in identifying changes to the project’s scope.
Here are some of the primary benefits of using the use-case driven approach as part of the effort for establishing and managing project scope:
- Use-cases quickly communicates scope in a straightforward manner. All project stakeholders can have a common foundation for the decisions regarding architecture and design and how they relate to the project's objectives.
- Once agreed upon, a use-case can be put under change control and any updates to the model can then be quickly identified as potentially affecting the project’s scope. Changes requested or discovered later in the project can be analyzed objectively for their impact on project's budget, resources and schedule.
- A modular foundation for the design of the software solution can be established in Elaboration. This permits work to be divided up effectively and executed in so that the most important and riskiest use-cases can be tackled early in the project.
- Use-cases help the team make informed decisions about implementation priorities, which allows effective allocation of limited project resources. This is very helpful in not only managing scope, but in doing iterative and incremental planning which relies heavily on the ability to identify project priorities.
Bottom line is that use-cases give the project team solid understanding of scope early in the project. Combine this understanding with effective project management and communication and you have an effective tool for reducing the risk of overruns in budget and/or time due to out of control scope changes.
Now that you’ve had a chance to read these thoughts on the use-case driven approach and project scope, please let me know your feedback based on your experience.