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The magic square of project management belongs in the repertoire of every project manager.

It includes the dimensions “scope”, “costs”, “time” and “quality”.

With this blog post I am starting a series on project management. The first part is about the scope dimension.


Big picture from scope to development and customizing

Let's start at the top with the scope. This needs to be clearly defined at the beginning of a project or before the project.

The goal of the scope is to determine the project deliverable. In other words, it defines what is included in the scope of the project and what is not included in the scope.

The scope is crucial for the costs incurred, the time that is available and also the quality of the delivery objects that are defined in the scope.

The scope includes processes and individual requirements that are created based on these processes. These requirements describe what should be implemented in the project.

The requirements are therefore of central importance for the scope, as they significantly influence the scope. This makes it all the more important to always keep these requirements in mind. Because if the requirements change or new requirements are added, then the scope of the project also changes.

The following image illustrates the connections between these elements and shows in red where the project manager and the client can define and monitor the scope.

From Scope to Development and Customizing


The Magic Square of Project Management

The square consists of the dimensions:

  1. Scope

  2. Cost

  3. Time

  4. Quality

It is important to know, that the four dimensions are related to each other. This means that if one dimension changes, such as more time is required, then the other dimensions automatically also change (more time = also more costs, etc.).

The magic square of project management


How do I keep the scope under control as a project manager?

As project manager and enthusiastic SAP ALM expert, I use SAP Cloud ALM, because I can monitor the scope there at any time. I also have the option of defining certain “quality gates” in order to keep the scope under control during the project. An example of this are new requirements, which must first be assessed before implementation and after that released for implementation.

In SAP Cloud ALM there is the “Manage Scopes” tile.

Scope in SAP Cloud ALM

A scope contains several processes. These can be SAP best practice processes or customer-specific processes (custom processes).

I can easily include the relevant processes by activation via a switch.

This then looks like this:

Scope for business processes


Next, requirements are captured for all processes that are in scope. These requirements are therefore also part of the scope. Typically there are the following requirements in an SAP project:

  • Simplification Items

  • Developments

  • Customizing

  • Custom code adoption

  • Depending on the level of detail, also WRICEF requirements

  • Change Requests (yes, I would like to consciously list these as requirements)

In SAP Cloud ALM the requirements then look like this:

Scope for requirements

Requirements that are already included in the scope at the beginning of a project no longer require approval for implementation. However, as a project manager, I would like to explicitly understand, assess and approve new or additional requirements that are added during the project. This with the goal of keeping the scope under control at all times.

Monitoring and controlling scope with SAP Cloud ALM

SAP Cloud ALM offers several options for this. On the overview page in particular, there are several tiles that show the status of all elements that are part of the scope in real time.

  • Task completion

  • Number of processes in scope

  • Number of requirements in scope

  • Distribution of requirements across subprojects/teams

  • Status of requirements

Always keep an eye on the scope


I would like to summarize the most important points: Scope is one of the four dimensions of the magic square of project management. It is related to all other dimensions in the square. I can break the scope down step by step, for example into processes and requirements. With the SAP ALM tool SAP Cloud ALM, SAP offers a good opportunity to excellently map project management and the magic square.

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