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Unformatted text preview: oject plan may be based upon architectural and detail drawings that were produced during a previous project. Similarly, a project to design and develop a new product may be based upon a product feasibility study that was conducted as a previous project. Or, a project to identify and streamline company operational policies and methods may be based upon a management consulting firm's report that cites operational methodology discrepancies as the cause of inefficiency. In all of these cases, previous documents, studies, or projects determine the work content of the project at hand. This is different from determining how the work content will be performed. Determining how the project will be performed is that part of project planning devoted to developing the project WBS. Often, this is where project planning breaks down in the first place. What frequently happens is the definition of the work Page 245 content is sufficiently ambiguous as to permit multiple interpretations. In this case, several possibilities emerge. Perhaps the worst case occurs when the project planners, thinking they understand the intended work content, plan the work around an interpretation of the work content that is foreign to those who attempted to document the work content. A more subtle case, and one that is hard to detect, occurs when the project planners build a plan that adheres to the letter of the documented work content but not to its spirit. On the surface, the project planner's WBS appears to preserve the integrity of the documented work content, but the project management team's interpretation of the WBS is substantially different from what was originally documented. So we can begin our list of what causes projects to fail with the following reasons: 1. Ambiguous definitions of the work 2. Failure to communicate the meaning of the definition of work to the project To these we can add the reasons that projects do not progress according to the project plan that we already know about from Chapter 2: 3. Failure to translate the work content into a meaningful WBS 4. Improper quantification 5. Inadequate estimating 6. Poor productivity (including poor execution caused by inadequate project management) We will not deal with all six of these problems in this chapter. It is assumed that the reader already understands from previous chapters how one would determine whether reasons 4 and 5 were partially to blame. Of course, if the project team is Page 246 not utilizing the variance and change tracking methods discussed in Chapters 3, 4, and 5, a determination may involve an analysis of individual control or work package cost and schedule overruns. We now look at the remaining four reasons for project failure and make some recommendations for determining project failure and assessing the possibility of salvaging a failing project. 10.2— Project Definition By project definition in this section we do not mean development of a project WBS or any other elements of a project plan. Rather, we mean definition of t...
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- Spring '10