The Process Elements Series: Process Scope

scope and boundaries

Last week we discussed the importance of well defined processes and as promised in my previous post this series will be a weekly instalment discussing the important elements required to make up a well defined process. For those of you who missed it, find the elements below. Today’s topic is scope definition.

What is the scope of a process?

Defining the scope is a very important step to be tackled at the very beginning when defining a process. Think of this as defining the boundaries in which the process is applicable. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re defining the scope of a process.

  • What is this process triggered by? Is it an event or another process?
  • Where does it end? Does it end with the production of some item or does it end by feeding an output into another process?
  • What part of our journey is this process we’re defining meant to cover? Is it from point A to point B or from Point A to Point C?
  • What is being taken into consideration?

One process leads into another as the output of one is the input of another creating a value chain. It is very important to define at the beginning the boundaries of the process being documented.

Let’s take an example:

A sales process may cover the up until the contract is drawn up and payment is made or it may also extend to on-boarding the client. For your business are these one and the same or are they 2 separate processes?

There is no right or wrong, as every business is different.

The scope of this process covers from when a lead requests a quote up when the payment has been received. This process is triggered by the Lead process and feeds into the on-boarding process.

This very short description lets the reader know immediately that the sales process covers serious inquiries that have requested a quote up until when money changes hands. It lets you know that there are separate processes to be followed before and after the sales process. In addition it also provides the value chain of a customer moving through the business.

The last point before I conclude, it is important is to specify and make sure the scope is documented and clearly shown at the very beginning of the process. A process is not a literature of entertainment, users will generally only read them when they have to and grudgingly at that. As such providing signals and direction makes sure your users do not get lost and miss the wood for the trees.


If you found this useful, keep an eye out for next week’s process element: The Process Owner.