Our starting point for the cycle plan is the mid-level WBS, which we created in Chapter 14. Figure 15.2 is a generic version of the mid-level WBS. We decomposed the WBS down to the second level, which is still expressing the WBS in terms of deliverables—the functionality that was identified in the Version Scope phase. In this phase we will extract from the mid-level WBS the functionality that will be worked on during the cycle we are now planning. It is that part of the WBS that becomes the basis of our cycle plan and that we will decompose down to the low level. This level is where we define the WBS down to the task level. This decomposition will be in terms of verb-type statements rather than the noun-type statements that are characteristics of the mid-level WBS.
So far the mid-level WBS is deliverables-oriented (subfunctions). We will create the low-level WBS for each of the subfunctions assigned to this cycle. To do that, we have to decompose deliverables into activities and finally into tasks that must be done to produce the deliverables. The top-down approach is our clear choice for how to do this. Start with any subfunction and ask yourself, "What major activities (segments of work) must be done in order to deliver this subfunction?" Think in the broadest sense, and come up with three to five activities. At this level we are defining work, and that means a verb statement. Make sure these activities are defined at a high enough level so that you can easily tell when they are all completed and when the subfunction is completed. We will continue this decomposition of activities until certain completion criteria have been met. Once an activity meets the completion criteria, we call it a task. No other activity will have this property, and so the term task is a precise term in our project management vocabulary.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.