Requirements vs Scope

The difference between requirements and scope in the context of business analysis and project management


Requirement is a condition or capability that must be met by a product or project to satisfy a business need. They focus on “what” the product or project needs to do and the conditions it must meet to satisfy user needs and stakeholder expectations. Requirements are typically precise and quantifiable, providing clear guidelines on how the product or project should perform, look, or interact with users.


Scope refers to the boundaries or extent of a product or project. It defines what is included and what is not included (out of scope) in the product or project, and provides a clear understanding of the work that needs to be done to achieve the desired outcomes. Scope focuses on the broader vision and objectives of the product or project, outlining the key deliverables and constraints.

Difference between requirements and scope

The following table captures the key differences between requirements and scope.

Level of DetailDetailed and specificBroader and more general
FocusThe “what” of the product (features and functionalities)The “what and why” of the product (boundaries and goals)
PurposeEnsure the product or project meets specific needs and functions as intendedProvide a clear understanding of the overall boundaries and objectives of the product or project, and prevent scope creep
ManagementManaged through detailed documents, user stories, and specificationsManaged through scope statements, project charters, and vision documents

What Comes First?

In project and product management, typically the scope is defined first. The scope sets the boundaries and parameters of what the project or product will encompass, including deliverables, constraints, and timelines. Once the scope is established, requirements are then defined within that scope to specify the functionalities, features, and characteristics necessary to meet stakeholder needs and objectives.

Types of Requirements

Requirements can be of different types such as:

  • Product requirements
  • Project requirements
  • Quality requirements

Refer to Requirement Types for details.

Types of Scope

Scope can be product scope or project scope.

Product Scope

Product scope refers to the features and functions that characterize a product, service, or result - the specific attributes and capabilities that define what is being created. It focuses on the end result or deliverable.

For example, the product scope for the house could be three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a garage. It could also include the architectural style and the intended use of the house. It could also specify exclusions - the swimming pool will be out of scope.

The product scope may also include the vision for the house, such as providing comfortable living space for a family of four, or offering a peaceful retreat for vacationers.

Project Scope

Project scope encompasses the “work” that needs to be done to deliver a product with the specified features and functions. It includes all the activities, resources, and processes required to complete the project.

For example, in a project to construct a house, all the work such as planning, hiring contractors, obtaining permits, and managing construction, is included in the project scope.

Related Articles

  1. Gold Plating
  2. Non-Functional Requirements in Agile
  3. Requirement Types
  4. Scope Creep vs Gold Plating
  5. Scope Creep
Last updated: July 04, 2024