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Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 1

Chapter 4

Building the Work Breakdown Structure

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 2

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchicaldescription of the work that must be done to complete theproject as defined in the Project Overview Statement (POS)

Several processes can be used to create this hierarchy

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 3

WBS

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 4

Decomposition

Decomposition is breaking down work into a hierarchy of activities, tasks, andwork packages.

Important to the overall project plan because it allows you to estimate theduration of the project, determine the required resources, and schedule thework.

The complete decomposition will be developed by using the completenesscriteria discussed later.

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 5

The WBS has four uses:Thought process toolIt helps the project manager and the project team visualize exactly how thework of the project can be defined and managed effectivelyNot unusual to consider alternative ways of decomposing the work untilproject manager is comfortableArchitectural design toolIs a picture of the work of the project and how the items of work are related toone anotherPlanning toolGives the project team a detailed representation of the project as a collectionof activities that must be completed in order for the project to be completedProject status reporting toolProject activities are consolidated (rolled up) from the bottom as lower-levelactivities are completedAs work is completed, activities will be completedWBS defines milestone events that can be reported to senior managementand to the customer

Uses for the WBS

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 6

Approaches to Building WBS

There is no one correct way to create the WBS.The choice is subjective and based more on the projectmanagers preference than on any other requirements.If try to follow one approach and find that it is making theproject work more confusing rather than simpler, texts advice issimply to throw away the work you have done and start all overagain with a fresh approach.

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 7

There are three general approaches to building the WBS:Noun-type approachesDefine the deliverable of the project work in terms of the components(physical or functional) that make up the deliverable. (Currently recommendedby PMI)Verb-type approachesDefine the deliverable of the project work in terms of the actions that must bedone to produce the deliverable.Include the design-build-test-implement and project objectives Approaches.Organizational approachesDefine the deliverable of the project work in terms of the organizational unitsthat will work on the project.Includes the department, process, and geographic location approaches

Approaches to Building WBS continued

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 8

Noun-Type Approaches

Physical decompositionIn projects that involve building products, it is tempting to followthe physical decomposition approachTake a bicycle for example. Its physical components are frame,wheels, seat, fork, rims, gears, brakes, and so on. If each is to bemanufactured, this approach may produces a simple WBS that iseasily understood by all concerned parties.

Can build the WBS using the functional components of an itemUsing the bicycle example, we can build the WBS using thefunctional components of the bicycle. The functional componentsinclude the steering system, gear-shifting system, braking system,and pedaling system.

Functional decomposition

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 9

Noun-Type Appr.

Representing the WBS

Indented outline Version WBS for a Bicycle

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 10

Design-build-test-implementCommonly used in those projects that involve a methodology,such as application systems development, for example.These are just representative categories.When the detail-level activity schedules are summarized up tothem, they present a display of meaningful information to therecipient of the report.Remember, the WBS activities at the lowest levels mustalways be expressed in verb form.After all, we are talking about work, and that implies action,which, in turn, implies verbs.

Verb-Type Approaches

ObjectivesSimilar to the design-build-test-implement approach.(Used when progress reports at various stages of project completion are prepared for senior management)

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 11

Design build test, Implement

Verb-Type Appr.Design-build-test-implement

Representing the WBS

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 12

Representing the WBS

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 13

Each activity must possess six characteristics to be consideredcompletely decomposed.

Status/completion is measurableStart/end events are clearly definedActivity has a deliverableTime/cost is easily estimatedActivity duration is within acceptable limitsActivity Independence

Test for Completeness in WBS

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 14

The project manager can ask for the status of an activity at anypoint in time during the project.

If the activity has been defined properly, that question isanswered easily.A simple metric that has met with some success is tocompute the proportion of tasks completed as a percentage ofall the tasks that make up the activity:

Although it may seem somewhat inaccurate, it is agood technique (It doesnt say anything about thequality of the Work, best of all, it is quick).

Measurable Status

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 15

Each activity should have a clearly defined start and end event.Once the start event has occurred, work can begin on theactivity.The deliverable is most likely the end event that signals work isclosed on the activity.

Start/end events are clearly defined (Bounded)

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 16

Deliverable

The result of completing the work that makes up the activity isthe production of a deliverable.It is a visible sign that the activity is complete:Could be an approving managers signature, a physicalproduct or document, the authorization to proceed to the nextactivity or some other sign of completionThe deliverable(s) from an activity is output from that activity,which then becomes input to one or more other activities thatfollow its completion.

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 17

Each activity should have an estimated time and cost ofcompletion.Being able to do this at the lowest level of decomposition in theWBS allows you to aggregate to higher levels and estimate thetotal project cost and the completion date.This experience at lower levels of definition gives you a strongerbase on which to estimate activity cost and duration for similaractivities.

Cost/Time Estimate

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 18

While there is no fixed rule for the duration of an activity, textrecommend that activities have a duration of less than twocalendar weeks. (Common practice in many organizations)

Exceptions when the activity defines process work, such as willoccur in many manufacturing situations.

The danger you avoid is longer-duration activities whose delaycan create a serious project-scheduling problem.

Acceptable Duration Limits

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 2017/2018 19

It is important that each activity be independent.Once work has begun on the activity, it can continue reasonablywithout interruption and without the need of additional input orinformation until the activity is complete.The work effort could be contiguous, but it can be scheduledotherwise for a variety of reasons:You can choose to schedule it in parts because of resourceavailability, but you could have scheduled it as one continuousstream of work.

Avoid the temptation to micromanage an activity:Best practices suggest that you manage an individuals workdown to units of one week.

Activity Independence

Dr. Anwar Abu-Zarifa . Islamic University of Gaza . Department of Mechanical & Indu

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