How to Define a Product Scope

5 min readJan 16, 2023
scope of a business

Projects are specifically developed to deliver products, services, or results. It can be challenging to get the desired end objectives if you don't understand the scope of your product. Organizations often fail to create a successful product, not because they had a poor idea but because the time invested in defining their product scope was low or nonexistent.

They build products based on their gut instead of user data research. It leads to huge losses as business experience scope creep and time and money are wasted. However, it doesn't have to be this way. Building a product that meets user requirements and expectations requires a plan, methodology, and process. So, establishing a well-defined product scope and project scope is crucial when you work on a complex, costly project such as web or app development.

Before diving into the details of how to define the product scope, let's get answers to what is the scope of a business and understand the project scope and product scope.

Project Scope vs. Product Scope: What's the difference?

Project scope and product scope(PMP/CAPM) are interchangeable, confusing aspiring management professionals. While the scope refers to the overall goals of a project, the two constituent forms are less clear-cut. However, both project scope and product scope work together in some ways.

Let's take an example of product scope; if you are upgrading your house for new flooring, you need to understand the type of flooring and the look and feel of the selected flooring. Understanding the product characteristics falls under the product scope. On the other hand, the project scope involves more extensive aspects. So, if you increase the horizon of product scope and include labor, resoureces working, and decide on the timeline required for executing the project.

Now, let's understand it from a technological perspective- if a manager is tasked with providing a new data center for an organization. In this case, the product scope will be the data center and the parts together to make up the data center. On the other hand, the project scope will focus on the entire process of getting from office space to a fully-functioning data center.

To understand product scope description in project management, let's shed more light on the two to better understand it.

The Project Scope

While defining the project's scope, we focus on the entire project- from its initialization to delivery. The project scope focuses on the various steps to deliver a product or service. All the work required to get a final product is product market scope. It does not involve how the actual product works but what tools, equipment, or processes will be necessary for managers to deliver the product.

The Product Scope

What is the scope of a product is among the most common FAQ. Product scope definition involves the details of the features or characteristics of the products themselves. The product scope description refers to the tangible part of the product, how it works, how we will achieve it, and how it can be improved in future iterations. Also, a well-defined product scope empowers managers to estimate the costs and time required to finish the project.

How to Define a Product Scope?

The scope of a project enlightens both management professionals and teams responsible for developing the product. It ensures that all parties involved are on the same page throughout development. Let's get into details on how to define the scope of the product by developing a product scope strategy. It involves three significant steps:

  1. Lay the groundwork for your product

Before defining the functionalities of your app, you need to gather in-depth information to lay the groundwork for your digital product. It can be done by following two key points- understanding end users and defining the value proposition of your product.

Identify who your users are and what they need. To create a successful product scope, make sure to realize that you're not a product user. To deeply understand your user's problems, you need to understand their feelings, goals, and key behaviors. Build user personas to understand customer needs and expectations.

Defining the value proposition will help you pitch your product amazingly. Establishing it will help you guide critical design and development decisions. Consider it as your company's elevator pitch which will involve how the product/service solves user problems, satisfies their needs and benefits, and why users should buy your product.

2. Define and prioritize the product features

The next step in your product scope strategy involves defining the product features. Use created user personas and product value propositions to highlight main functionalities, and priority features list. These steps will ensure which features are most important and need great attention throughout the product-building process.

Understand what product analysis is and perform in-depth research using the 5W1H method, which includes-

  • Who- who will be the target end user for this feature
  • What- is the feature we are building
  • Where- will this feature be used
  • When- it will be used within the user journey
  • Why- do we need this specific feature
  • How- will consumers use this feature

Prioritizing features based on need is great for your product. For instance, it's better to have an app with few polished features instead of a complicated product that gives no output to users.

3. Define the minimum viable product (MVP)

After laying the groundwork and understanding the needs for your product, brainstorm the product's features, and prioritize them based on effort and value. Define the minimum viable product (MVP) to test your business idea. A minimum viable product help companies get an idea of how their features are being accepted. You can define the features based on nice-to-have and need-to-have, as it will help the teams receive real-time user feedback to iterate and improve the product.

Develop a product roadmap to represent the evolution of a product through its different versions. For instance, your first MVP will have basic features and functionalities, whereas as you move toward full-scale development, the features will get complex and advanced.


Hope you are now familiar with the scope, project scope, and product scope. Managing project scope and product scope is vital for professionals working on complex projects. Also, defining a product scope requires in-depth research of the current market standards. Establishing the proper scope from the beginning is critical to ensure that your product development is going in the right direction. Adding on, it helps you keep a straightforward process with efficient cost and time management.




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