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Fundamentals Of Project Management

Developing the wbs one important question to ask

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Unformatted text preview: point at which you can estimate to the desired degree of accuracy or at which the work will take an amount of time equal to the smallest units you want to schedule. If, for instance, you want to schedule to the nearest day, break down the work to the point at which each task takes about a day to perform. If you are going to schedule to the nearest hour, then you stop when task durations are in that range. Remember the rule that the people who must do the work should participate in planning it? That applies here. Usually a core group identifies top-level parts of the WBS; then those parts are refined further by other members of the team and integrated to obtain the entire WBS. The WBS should be developed before the schedule. In fact, the WBS is the device that ties the entire project together. It allows you to assign resources and to estimate costs and resources, and it shows the scope of the job in graphic form. Later, as you track the project, you can identify the work as being such-and-such a box in the WBS. There is at least one software package, SuperProject Expert", that will print a WBS after schedule data have been entered. That is a nice feature, since it gives a graphically attractive WBS, but you should make a rough drawing before using the scheduling software. The reason is quite simple: until everyone has agreed that all tasks have been identified, it is misleading to develop a schedule. You cannot be sure the critical path identified by a partial schedule will be the same for the full schedule. There are a number of approaches to developing the WBS. Ideally, you proceed top-down, after developing a good problem statement and mission statement. The mind does not always operate in such nice linear fashion, however, and as you develop the WBS, you may find that it helps you understand the job better. For that reason, I am not a purist about following specific procedures. Do what works best for you. The WBS does not have to be symmetrical. That is, all paths need not be broken down to whatever level you stop at. Since the rule is to break work down to a level sufficient to achieve the estimating accuracy you desire, one path may take six levels, while another may need only three. USES OF THE WBS www.erpvn.net As I have said, the WBS is a good way to show the scope of a job. If you have ever given someone an estimate for project cost or time and seen the person have a cardiac arrest, you know that it is generally because the person sees the project as being much simpler than it is. When you show a project in WBS form, it is clear to most individuals why the job costs so much. In fact, sometimes the planning group itself is overwhelmed by the complexity and magnitude of the WBS. If it impresses these pros, think of the impact on the outsider. Assigning responsibility for tasks is another important use of the WBS. Each task to be performed should be assigned to a specific person. These assignments can then be listed on a separate form, often calle...
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