Sometimes there is a need to clarify the project scope in an easy-to-digest way. An Includes/Excludes table is a simple way to accomplish this.

Overview: What are Includes/Excludes?

An Includes/Excludes table is a simple table with two columns. The word “in” is placed at the top of the left column, and the word “out” is placed at the top of the right column.

3 benefits of Includes/Excludes

Here are some main benefits of creating an Includes/Excludes table:

1. Defining the initiative

One value of an Includes/Excludes table is that it enforces the definition of an initiative as well as the projects that are part of it.

2. Maintains focus

The use of an Includes/Excludes table can keep you focused on core strategic problems and root causes.

3. Establishing the boundaries of a project

This tool helps a team to define the parameters of a project as well as what is included and excluded in the work’s scope.

Why are Includes/Excludes important to understand?

Includes/Excludes is important to understand for the following reasons:

1. Provides a fuller understanding of the business model

Having an understanding of Includes/Excludes and how to use them as part of a table helps a strategist think of the business model in a more logical and complete way.

2. Scope creep

Having a comprehension of Includes/Excludes can help you identify scope creep.

3. Clarification

Knowing how to use an Includes/Excludes table gives you the ability to offer clarification of a project’s scope for the other members of your team.

An industry example of Includes/Excludes

A team is about to embark on a project, but it feels like the scope of what they are trying to accomplish is not clear. The goals feel all over the place with everyone on the team wanting to move in different directions. In order to establish a clear focus on what the goals are and the scope, an Includes/Excludes table is created.

3 best practices when thinking about Includes/Excludes

Here are some practices to keep in mind when it comes to Includes/Excludes:

1. Use your Includes/Excludes to set project boundaries

Not adequately addressing project boundaries can cause all kinds of issues later on during the implementation of your project.

2. The four W’s and one H are a helpful guide in considering Includes/Excludes

This means when, what, where, who, and how.

3. Be aware of scope creep

Be mindful that an item that is in the Includes does not cross over into Excludes and vice-versa.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Includes/Excludes

What does the line in an Includes/Excludes table represent?

The line represents the scope.

When do I let something that is out cross the line?

Only once you understand its impact on the program’s governance should you let anything cross the line.

What is a good synonym for the word “scope”?

Partitioning is a good synonym in that there is the implication that there is a conscious choice to categorize concepts.

Finding your focus with an Includes/Excludes table

It can be easy for a project to get away from a team before any actual work is even accomplished. There can be too many team members that all want different things, causing confusion as to what is important. Determining the scope of a project during this time is paramount to achieving any level of success. Creating an Includes/Excludes table to help see where the focus of the project should be can be the difference between orderly progress towards a common goal and just having a project devolve into chaos.

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