Infrastructure Project Scope Definition Using Project Definition Rating Index

Evan Bingham, Edd Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Front-end planning (FEP) is a critical process for uncovering project unknowns while also developing adequate scope definition and a structured approach for the project execution process. For infrastructure projects, the FEP process assists in identifying and mitigating risks stemming from issues such as right-of-way concerns, utility adjustments, environmental hazards, logistic problems, and permitting requirements. The authors have developed a novel risk management tool, called the project definition rating index (PDRI) for infrastructure projects, which can be used to identify and address these issues systematically and in a structured manner. Input from 64 industry professionals representing over 30 organizations was used in the development of the tool. In addition to a usable definition for infrastructure in the context of the built environment, a finite and specific list of issues related to scope definition of infrastructure projects was developed with this industry input. Data from 26 completed or in-process projects are given. Results show that the PDRI assessment score is indicative of the current level of scope definition for sample projects and corresponds to project performance. Findings support the hypothesis that projects with improved early understanding of scope definition elements showed improved project outcomes; infrastructure projects with low PDRI scores (well defined) outperformed projects with high PDRI scores. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by specifically identifying those FEP elements that are critical to infrastructure projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04016037
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Front-end planning (FEP)
  • Planning
  • Project definition rating index (PDRI)
  • Risk management
  • Scope definition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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