Components of Scope Baseline for PMP

One common question on PMP Exams is about the Scope Baseline, as defined in the PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition.

For example, a question on Scope Baseline could be as follows:

Q: The scope baseline consists of all of the documents except:
A. Work Breakdown Structure
B. WBS Dictionary
C. Scope Management Plan
D. Scope Statement

Many people get mistaken about the WBS and the WBS dictionary. They think that these are quite detailed documents that are developed much later in the project life cycle. So at least one of these documents is not part of the scope baseline. The problem stems from their lack of experience in creating a formal scope baseline in their projects.

Actually, both WBS and the WBS Dictionary are part of the scope baseline, as well as the Scope Statement. So by the method of elimination, we arrive at the correct answer of C – Scope Management Plan.

  • The WBS defines each deliverable and further decomposes in deliverable into smaller work packages.
  • The WBS Dictionary contains the actual detailed description of the work required, and is often a very detailed and technical description of each work package.
  • The Project Scope Statement includes the product scope description and the project deliverable, and it also defines the product user acceptance criteria.

The Scope Management Plan only tells you how to manage the scope – how the requirements are collected, how are they documented, how are they verified, prioritised, updated, changed etc. But the scope management plan itself is never part of the Scope Baseline. It is the other way round - The Scope Baseline is part of the Scope Management Plan.

According to the PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition, The approved detailed project scope statement and its associated WBS and WBS dictionary are the scope baseline for the project. The scope baseline is a component of the project management plan.

So keep this important consideration in mind while attempting the Scope Baseline questions on the PMP exam.

Vinai Prakesh, PMP
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