Creating a Workable WBS

I' ve already emphasized that if you haven ' t correctly identified the deliverables, the rest of your project will be fundamentally flawed. There is a natural flow to things, all starting with the deliverables. This flow now arrives at the work breakdown structure (WBS), and your deliverables identification and requirements analysis all get captured and documented here in a new way. Figure 8.1 shows how the WBS grows out of the project process so

Slepl: PM ivofkswlh customer (and often 4 business jnaljst) to deit- mine wli al deliverables art. PM usts totnbi nHi m ti lritefrwf!l>Qii. diplomacy; (Mecbue wofK. and psychologylo jot to the ratf Of vjtial customer want!

Step I: Arm in iviffl Ihi information obtained from customer, PM Ixpns lil iMh it* ski and di shii d projSet phalli

Dots ¡his by UcocmpoMng dpiiuersbles into meonin^ful uski. ani:admtiei- 'mining' IhicujtDmcfinformal ¡on

SEqp i. Onto I'M undor^iibdi what thelssks afe. all diluent {iCLvniti. I ask:., and ptiav^j jftderuitd to vnsw riqutied people, supplies, durjUnns. pfedetevsDfiJsuccfSfjjrs, and mUnttHit derail ixi> an j WBS.

Figure 8.1: The WBS process

The process of developing a WBS is one of combining the project' s calendar with its tasks, activities, and phases. You are performing the following tasks:

■ Putting on the calendar, one at a time, each task, activity, and phase to be worked

Figure 8.1: The WBS process

■ Assigning to each segment the people who will be working on it

■ Assigning the length of time a task should take, a duration, to each task, based upon estimates that your team members give you

■ Assigning costs, including monetary and human resource ones, to the tasks, activities, and phases

■ Setting milestones that mark significant events in a project's life cycle

The WBS is the blueprint for how you're going to create the deliverables. Note that, although it's included in the project plan, it's only a part of the entire project plan. The WBS is most useful to you and your team as you work through the creation of the deliverables. Fortunately, today's project software allows you to easily create a WBS that make sense for your project, and the software keeps track of the budgeting, estimates, people, milestones, and charts as well.

In the beginning, as Figure 8.1 shows, the customer came to you with a project. She had a product or products in mind. Sitting down with the customer (and probably a business analyst), you developed the list of requirements that this project is going to provide. Note Recall that a business analyst is someone who can speak the language of the business area your customer is in and translate as needed into IT or PM dialect. Once you have developed your deliverables and their requirements, you begin assigning activities and tasks to those items. As I discussed in Chapter 7, Creating a Project Plan," while you try to identify activities (the main actions your project takes toward building a deliverable), you are also beginning to break down the components of those activities (the tasks) and to group related activities together (into phases).

The elements of a project—activities, tasks, and phases—are all defined by the people involved, supplies needed, time required, predecessor and successor relationships, and designations of which items are milestones. These elements and their defining characteristic are captured in the WBS document.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment