Targeted Completion Date

Another element of the scope document is the targeted completion date, which has several specific components to it. First, you can declare this date as measured from a specific start date. Sounds like a physics problem, doesn't it? How can you declare a completion date when you don't know the start date? As an elapsed time from a known date, such as "five months from the adoption of the project charter."

You also have the option of expressing an absolute completion date, in one of three different ways:

■ A definite date (e.g., "This project will conclude 7/28/2003.")

■ A range of dates (e.g., "This project will conclude between 7/1/2003 and

■ A specific quarter and year (e.g., "This project will conclude in the third quarter of 2003." You can abbreviate this as Q3 2003 after you ' ve officially declared it.)

You also stipulate the consequences if the date is not met. Your purpose here isn' t to add urgency to the project, but to simply say what will happen if you don 't hit your targeted date.

Finally, you can include a milestone chart if you think it' s needed. A milestone is a turning point or significant event in a project, such as the completion of a deliverable. Using project software, you can identify these milestones and include a chart of them so that readers of the scope document understand the critical events that shape the project. If the scope document can be thought of as shaping the project' s skeleton, the milestones represent where one joint meets another in the skeleton.

A phase review represents a time when a milestone has been reached and you stop to evaluate the quality of the process thus far. Elements of a phase review include both "hard" data, such as where you ' re at in terms of the timeline and how much money you' ve spent, and "soft" data such as feedback you ' ve gotten on the project thus far. Depending on the size of the project, the PM is the one who may opt for a phase review. It' s not unheard of, on large projects, for PM-savvy executives to insist on phase reviews at critical points. In any size project, a phase review is a good idea because it doesn' t take much time and keeps everybody headed down the same road. It' s a good way to spot places where you' re headed off-track.

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