Relationship among Scope, Schedule and Budget
The three most important aspects of any project are scope, schedule and budget and these are referred to as “The triple constraints”. These constraints have to be managed efficiently in order to avoid schedule and cost overruns. Let us understand these terms and how they are related.
Scope: Scope defines the work boundaries and the deliverables of the project. It indicates what is included as project deliverables and helps in understanding what is not included in project scope. Scope clearly indicates the work that needs to be performed in order to deliver the product/service with its specified features or functions.
Schedule: Schedule is the list of activities that needs to be performed in order to fulfil the project scope. This list is organised in a logical sequence, also called the network logic. The list consists of activity duration, constraints, interdependencies among the various activities. Project schedule specifies the planned start and finish dates of each activity likely to be executed in a project, it also specifies the dates when important projects milestones have to be met. The project scope statement is a key input in developing a project schedule.
Budget: Budget is an estimate of cost of all activities planned for the project. This estimate is generated by applying the cost of resources (men, material and machines) to each activity. Every activity consumes resources and has direct and indirect cost associated with it. In other words, budget indicates the cost of completing planned activities.
Relationship: It can now be stated that budget is a function of schedule and scope. If we have a constant budget, the only two variables are scope and schedule. Changes to project scope affect project schedule. It is therefore necessary that every change to the project scope is justified, approved by a competent authority and recorded prior to integration to the original project scope. The updated project scope should be utilized to change the project schedule to arrive at the new set of activity start and finish dates and milestone dates, and the updated budget. Alterations to project scope and resulting change in schedule have a direct bearing on project budget.
It is therefore necessary that the changes to project scope are monitored as closely as possible. Rework is one another factor that affects a project schedule and consequently the project budget. Rework hampers the progress of scheduled activities, as the scarce resources have to be deployed once again for an activity that has been completed though not to the required standard or level of satisfaction.