Creating Work Packages

The lowest level of the WBS is where the work gets done. These are the "leaves" on the tree representation, or the farthest indented activities in the indented list. These are called work packages and usually result in a work product being delivered. Work packages define the work product in such a way that each is clearly distinguished from all other work packages in the project. They are usually described with all the information necessary for a qualified person to carry out the work. For software development projects, these usually correspond to the lowest identifiable objects or modules to be created in a deliverable system. The contents of a work package may include:

® Description of the work product expected—software element to be produced;

® The staffing requirements—who or how many people will do this activity;

® Names of responsible individual(s)—who is responsible for seeing that it is completed;

® The scheduled start and end dates—when the activity is expected to start and to end;

® The budget assigned (dollars, hours, or other unit)—the effort estimate for the activity;

® The acceptance criteria for the work—defect level or other quality measure.

If the project staff already know these things, which is common in organizations where the same group of software engineers work together every day, then writing up a formal work package is unnecessary because they already know the tasks needed to complete the activity. However, when more control is needed to organize a group that has never worked together before and has no common software culture to provide a framework, then writing down the work package information is very helpful because it minimizes ambiguity about their assignments. It may also occur that a work package for a project becomes the scope of work for a whole subproject, which is further divided into more activities, managed as a project under the larger effort. The way to distinguish a subproject from a standalone project is to ask whether the subproject could stand alone on its own, without the larger project for context. A subproject's work product deliverable may be a standalone piece of software useful in contexts outside the scope of the current project. Creating custom software utilities is a good example of a software subproject. Most project management scheduling tools, such as Microsoft Project, have a place for notes about each activity and a way to print them as assignment handouts. This is great for getting a newly hired diverse group of software engineers to use the same processes.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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