Project Requirements vs Project Scope for PMP Exam

Project Requirements vs Project Scope for PMP Exam

In everyday terms, both project requirements and project scope are usually used interchangeably to refer to what needs to be done for the project. However, these two terms are not identical and should be studied in more details in order to really understand their definitions from the view of PMI.

Project Requirements and Project Scope

  • Project Requirements: Requirements are what are expected to be fulfilled by the project from the users’ point of view.
    • Requirements is a collection of items that are the needs of the users — capabilities that are supposed to be present in the deliverables.
    • The Requirements are collected through the Collect Requirements process with the use of questionnaires, workshops and interviews, etc. with defined stakeholders.
      • Each requirement must be documented in details with acceptance criteria.
      • Requirements documentation, requirements management plan and requirements traceability matrix are produced.
  • Project Scope: Project Scope defines the boundary of the project and it is the sum of products, service and/or results of the project.
    • Project Scope is derived from the project requirements that are more thoroughly studied and documented.
    • Project Scope indicates the list of activities/tasks that need to be done in order to fulfil the requirements.
    • In particular, project scope outlines in details what are and are NOT included in the project.
    • The project scope statement is produced in the Define Scope process to give a baseline for understanding and agreement among all stakeholders.

Illustrated Example

Let’s again take the project of PMP® Exam preparation as an example.

The project requirements of the end user (i.e. you) may include the following:

  • Fulfil the PMI requirements and requisites for applying for the exam.
  • Be well prepared for the exam.
  • Pass the exam and be certified.

And the scope of the project would include:

  • Getting the requirement number of working experience hours in project management.
  • Getting 35 Contact Hours of project management education by going through an online course
  • Applying for the exam and paying the exam fee.
  • Purchasing and going through a reference prep book.
  • Going through several mock exams and compare the results to understand the exam readiness.
  • Schedule and take the exam.

Mock Exam Question

  1. As the project manager for a large construction project, you are reviewing a list received from an important stakeholder:
    – the building should include a theatre, an auditorium, exhibition rooms, gift shops, an office and all the auxiliary facilitates
    – the auditorium should house at least 400 guests
    – the building should have a modern minimalistic architectural style
    What actually is the list about?

    1. Project Requirements
    2. Project Scope
    3. Project Activities
    4. Project Quality Requirements
    Solution: A
    The list only shows what the stakeholder requires, therefore it is about project requirements. If the project manager breaks down the requirements into detailed implementation activities, the list created will be the project scope.


Project Requirements and Project Scope may be considered as opposite sides of the same coin:

  • Project Requirements are the expectations from the stakeholders that the project need to address. The requirements are usually written in the form of capabilities (what things can be done).
  • Project Scope lists out all the work that need to be done in order to deliver products, services and/or results that provide the capabilities to fulfil the user requirements. The scope is usually written as the detailed activity list.
recommended PMP resourcesAdditional FREE PMP® resources: 47+ Commonly Confused Term Pairs with detailed explanations. If you found this article useful, you may wish to reference other Commonly Confused Term articles.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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3 Responses

  1. ANAS says:

    Thanks a lot

    but what the difference between PRODUCT Scope and REQUIRMENTS.

  2. Victor says:

    Hello Sir,

    Thank you for your explanations on project scope vs project requirement. Please, could you help give an example of project objectives and project aim for the launch of a new product? I find it confusing to differentiate the two.
    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.