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The Role of Scope Baseline in Quality Planning

edited May 2012 in PM Certifications

According to PMI® standards, Scope Baseline, an output from the important process 6. Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), is a synthesis of the Project Scope Statement, the WBS, and the WBS dictionary.

On the other hand, according to the same PMI® standards, process 14. Plan Quality requires the Scope Baseline as an input amongst others.

The Scope Baseline therefore establishes an output/input link between the two processes: Create WBS and Plan Quality.

Questions: Is this link between the two processes justified? If so, what is the best way to explain the role of the Scope Baseline in Quality Planning?


  • @ raulcid :
    I would say yes. Scope baseline clearly indicates what is to be developed and delivered (not more not less). Quality planning would say how to plan for and manage quality - QA and QC. Quality plan details out various quality processes and procedures. QA assists us in how to use and apply those processes to get the desired outcome. QC assists us in ensuring we are only delivering that outcome as mentioned in Scope Baseline (not more not less). Scope baseline would help us to focus more on the QC aspect. Hence it is very much a valid input to Quality planning.

    Chandrasekhar, PMP®

  • Scope Baseline includes Project Scope Statement, WBS and WBS Dictionary. Project Scope Statement provides the project description, high level deliverables and the acceptance criteria.

    For example, one of the acceptance criteria for a banking system project could be <200ms transaction time. Such acceptance criteria may require additional quality testing cycles, and hence planning.

  • edited May 2012


    For the sake of discussion:

    If the Project Scope Statement includes deliverables and acceptance criteria wouldn't it then be sufficient input for Quality Planning?

    Why do we need WBS and WBS Dictionary for? In other words, wouldn't it be enough just to link process 5. Define Scope to process 14. Plan Quality?

    Or is it that the high-level deliverables are not enough and then we need WBS and WBS Dictionary in addition? Why? What is the best explanation for this, if any? I think Chandra may have the answer implicit in his post.

    I shall appreciate any comment from anyone of you. Thanks.

    Raul Cid

  • @raulcid

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. My previous post was an attempt to answer your original question.

    Your follow-up question is even more interesting. While it's almost impossible to make perfect sense of every ITTO in the PMBOK Guide, I think there's a case for having Scope Baseline (instead of just Project Scope Statement) as an input to Plan Quality.

    When you identify quality planning activities during Plan Quality, what do you do with them? Won't you update your WBS? If yes, won't it help to have the WBS in front of you to figure out where those activities would fit in the WBS?

    I'm just trying to think from a practical point of view. Let me know whether it makes sense.

  • @Harwinder

    Two important outputs for Quality Planning are 1) Quality Metrics and 2) Quality Checklists. And, as Chandra implies in his answer, the high-level acceptance criteria included in the Scope Statement might not be sufficient to build the Quality Metrics, which in turn is an important input for Quality Assurance and Quality Control. We might in some cases need more level of detail such as the one present in the WBS and the WBS dictionary in order to figure out the metrics.

    The WBS and the WBS dictionary are, in effect, updatable through back inputs at any time according to the results of many other processes that come later. I like to think, however, that WBS and WBS dictionary should remain in essence as constant as possible. This facilitates, for example, Procurement Management.

  • @raulcid

    It's not just Quality Metrics and Quality Checklists, but the entire "Quality Planning" effort that needs more insight into the "work" involved in the project. WBS captures "all" the work involved in the project, and that includes Quality Management work.
    Your experience may be different, but WBS and WBS Dictionary are updated as the project is "progressively elaborated". Once the baselines are approved, changes are handled through ICC Process.

  • Your explanation clarifies a lot. Thanks. The WBS is a very important hub in the process network. As you say, everything that needs to be done in the project tracks back to the WBS.

    I had forgotten about the notion of "progressive elaboration" that is so pervasive in the PMBOK Guide. Thanks for bringing it up. That could be the matter of another thread.

    Case closed. Thanks a lot for you time.

  • @raulcid

    Thanks for initiating and participating in this discussion. I really encourage more such conversations on this forum. A collection of such discussions will form a sound knowledge base for PMP and CAPM aspirants for years to come.

    Best regards.

This discussion has been closed.