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Planning for Public Project Management: MJhtauI&e's Siiwirage Kcnoy a lion/expansion

ln 1977, by judicial and regulatory order, Milwaukee was ordered to renovate and expand their inadequate and outdated sewerage system. To do so would cost over $2 billion, mvolve 27 separate municipalities, and take aPproximately 20 years, all without disrupting existing sewerage services. To date, it has involved 306 construction and procurement

Source: H. F. Padgham, "The Milwaukee Water Pollution Abatement Program: Its Stakeholder Management," PM Network, April 1991.

Reconstructed treatment plant on the Milwaukee project.

contracts ranging from $100,000 to $200 million, 121 firms, and 1500 construction personnel. The project includes 20 miles of deep tunnels, ranging from 17 to 32 feet in diameter and 270 to 325 feet underground, and 62 miles of near-surface tunnels and sewers.

To manage this project, a Program Management Office (PMO) was established and given a set of seven physical objectives, seven community objectives, and five funding objectives. Overall, the PMO is responsible for six major functions: evaluation and planning, design management, cost/schedule management, construction, support service, and startup. Rather than PMO hiring all the workers needed for this project as city employees and bearing the costs of hiring, unemployment insurance, etc., an engineering consulting firm experienced in managing large municipal projects was engaged to "schedule, coordinate, and technically manage the various project elements of this program."

In addition to hiring construction and engineering contractors, a number of legal and public relations firms were also engaged to handle the many public conflicts that would invariably occur. One of these developed that seriously threatened the project when USA Today published a story that linked the Milwaukee Sewage Processing Plant with an illness contracted by three football players. The public relations firm engaged a number of medical authorities to study the data and offer opinions. They did, and discounted the possibility of any connection, a position affirmed by the national Environmental Protection Agency. The danger blew over.

Another critical point requiring political and public relations expertise concerned which of two major approaches were to be taken to the renovation: the separation of sewer and storm drains/tunnels (favored by excavators and pavers, plus newer communities who already had separate systems) versus the construction of deep underground storage facilities to allow the treatment plants time to process the polluted storm water (a much cheaper solution). Critical support from


Milwaukee community leadership organizations and public officials eventually led to selecting the second approach.

A more difficult problem, still not resolved, is how to pay for the project. Most of the suburbs preferred that the capital (investment) costs be paid through user charges based on the volume of wastewater entering the system. The city and other suburbs preferred that the capital costs be paid through property taxes, and operating costs be paid through user charges. The issue has been in and out of many courts, the state legislature, the state utility regulators, and the Public Service Commission.

In addition to the community leadership organizations, public agencies, and various engineering firms and contractors involved in the project, other stakeholders that need to be considered in the project's decisions include the EPA, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the operating staff of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (who will assume operating control of the new system when completed), local and state politicians, the governmental councils of the 27 municipalities, and the citizens and media of Milwaukee and its municipalities. As a tribute to the Milwaukee community, the contracting engineering firm designed a Milwaukee Riverwalk and solicited endorsements and funding for it. Today it is a reality.


As was the case with project action plans and contrary to popular notion, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is not one thing. It can take a wide variety of forms, which, in turn, serve a wide variety of purposes. It often pictures a project subdivided into hierarchical units of tasks, subtasks, work packages, etc., as a type of Gozinto chart or tree constructed directly from the project's action plans. Many of the project management software packages actually create WBSs automatically, given that the action plans have been input. These WBSs are usually in the form of outlines with the first level tasks at the left, and successive levels appropriately indented.

Another popular type of WBS shows the organizational elements associated with specific categories of tasks. Figure 5-5 is such a WBS. The project is to build a robot. The control group of the Electronics Department of the organization has responsibility for developing control systems for the robot. Five different control functions are shown, each of which is presumably broken down into more detailed tasks. In this case, the account numbers for each task are shown so that proper charges can be assigned to each piece of work done for the project.

Some writers recommend using the WBS as the fundamental tool for planning 116, for instance]. We find nothing logically wrong with this approach, but it seems overly structured when compared to the way that firms noted for high-quality planning actually proceed. If this approach is used, the PM is well advised to adopt the general philosophy of building the WBS that was used when building the action plan (see Section 5.3). Other writers pay scant attention to the WBS, giving the subject little more than a mention |4 and 26, among others]. We do not find this a fatal error as long as the planning activity is otherwise carried out to an appropriate level of detail.

Levels gr'230XZ3 ' Robot (10.00.00)

Systems .design (11.00.00)

^Electronics (.12 GO.00)


ni4 00 00)

Systems .design (11.00.00)

^Electronics (.12 GO.00)


ni4 00 00)

test (11.02.00)

• ' Equip, (12.01.00)

Cntrl Sftwr. (12.02:00) (12.03.00)

i... Data


"Mfg. engr.

Prod, cntrl.


Site prep.

Figure 5-5: Work breakdown structure (account numbers shown).

In general, the WBS is an important document and can be tailored for use in a number of different ways. It may illustrate how each piece of the project contributes to the whole in terms of performance, responsibility, budget, and schedule. It may, if the PM wishes, list the vendors or subcontractors associated with specific tasks. It may be used to document that all parties have signed-off on their various commitments to the project. It may note detailed specifications for any work package, establish account numbers, specify hardware/software to be used, and identify resource needs. It may serve as the basis for making cost estimates (see Chapter 7) or estimates of task duration (see Chapter 8). Its uses are limited only by the needs of the project and the imagination of the PM. No one version of the WBS will suit all needs, so the WBS is not a document, but any given WBS is simply one of many possible documents.

The following general steps explain the procedure for designing and using the WBS. For small or moderate-size projects, and depending on the use for which the WBS is designed, some of the following steps might be skipped, combined, extended, and handled less formally than our explanation indicates, particularly if the project is of a type familiar to the organization.

1. Using information from the action plan, list the task breakdown in successively finer levels of detail. Continue until all meaningful tasks or work packages have


been identified and each task can be individually planned, budgeted, scheduled, monitored, and controlled.

2. For each such work package, identify the data relevant to the WBS (e.g., vendors, durations, equipment, materials, special specifications, etc.). List the personnel and organizations responsible for each task. It is helpful to construct a linear responsibility chart (sometimes called a responsibility matrix) to show who is responsible for what. This chart also shows critical interfaces between units that may require special managerial coordination. With it, the PM can keep track of who must approve what and who must report to whom. Such a chart is illustrated in Figure 5-6. If the project is not too complex, the responsibility chart can be simplified (see Figure 5-7). Figure 5-8 shows one page of a verbal responsibility chart developed by a firm to reorganize its distribution system. In this case, the chart takes the form of a 30-page document covering 116 major activities.

3. All work package information should be reviewed with the individuals or organizations who have responsibility for doing or supporting the work in order to verify the WBS' accuracy. Resource requirements, schedules, and subtask relationships can now be aggregated to form the next higher level of the WBS, continuing on to each succeeding level of the hierarchy. At the uppermost level, we have a summary of the project, its budget, and schedule.

4. For the purpose of pricing a proposal, or determining profit and loss, the total project budget should consist of four elements: direct budgets from each task


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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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