Most people do not truly understand a concept until they can visualize it. This applies to all fields, including Project Management. The best way to effectively manage projects is to help your team visualize the end result as well as the steps needed to achieve that result.
Help Your Team Visualize the Right Path to Success
Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure: Visualizing Objectives, Deliverables, Activities, and Schedules employs a diagram approach to project planning and scheduling. This useful tool empowers business professionals to take control of and successfully communicate their projects, ensuring they are completed on time with their targeted impact.
Industry professional Dennis P. Miller, a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies, thoroughly explains the keys to an effective Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) through an Eight Step Process. He has refined this process over a period of twenty years, applying it to over 100 projects ranging from software development to social events. The Eight Step Process starts with a concentrated effort to define the project through its deliverables. The middle steps walk the project team through a process of activity definition and sequencing and resource assignment. Finally, the last steps involve estimating the duration and verifying the project timeline.
Not Just What to Do, But How to Do It!
This is a hands-on volume that includes a practice section for each of the eight steps, providing readers with real examples of how the author has successfully applied this process. The result of its application is a visualization of the project’s objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedules. Over 130 illustrations enrich the instructions. Project managers are assured of success by following the simple tools in this unique and comprehensive volume.
Table of Contents
II. Preplanning Activities and Issues
Issue: Do Not Ask if You Do Not Plan to Use!
Issue: Your Personal Management Style
Issue: How Important Is the Project to Your Organization?
Issue: Write Your Management Style into Your
Issue: Will Your Organization Accept Results?
Issue: Can You Pull This Off?
Sources of Deliverables
Client’s Own Words
Objective Statement Only
Your Planning Team
No Definition at All
Timing of Planning Session
A Question of Timing
How Many Days?
How Many Hours per Day?
Planning Session Site
II. Executing The Eight Step Process
Step 1: Find the Project’s Deliverables
Deliverable versus Activity Orientation
All Projects Have Physical Deliverables
The Best Source of Deliverables
Just-In-Time (JIT) Training
Do Not Add Any Deliverables, Even If You Know They
Find the Deliverables — Nouns Only
Write Out the Post-Its®
Let’s Practice: Step 1
Different Types (Colors) of Post-Its®
Do Not Be Concerned with Duplicates
A Good Method for Analyzing
Be as Neat as Possible
Step 2: Build and Review the Initial Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)
The Top Component of the WBS
JIT Training (Build)
The Initial Build of the PBS
A PBS Can Have Different Depths (Level of Detail)
Let’s Practice: Part One
Build Your Working Surface
Assemble the PBS
PC Software or Not?
JIT Training (Review)
Let’s Practice: Part Two
Objectives of the Presentation
Play a Little Trick
Progress Reporting Style
Other Display Techniques
Step 3: Building Down the PBS
A Question of Granularity
Approaches for the Build-Down
Project Deliverables to the Fourth Level
Sources for More Detailed Deliverables
The PBS Is a Work in Progress
Show Your Work: Leave It on Post-Its®
The Project Management Leg®
The Parking Lot
Step 4: Establishing the Activities
Most Project Managers Start Here
Their Time Is Yours
Are You Ready?
Restate the Project’s Purpose
How Much to Plan
Gaining Team Buy-In
Step 5: Building the Physical Logical Diagram (The Network)
The Network Is a Time-Oriented Diagram
The Most Common Network Flaw
Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT)
Critical Path Method (CPM)
Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)
How the Network Goes Together
Where to Build the Network
Organized Sub-teams if Necessary
How to Get Started
Ask the Right Question
Interconnect the Sub-team Networks
Now Combine It All
How to Draw Arrows
Keep the PBS Current
The Quality Step
Do Not Let It Drag Out
Do Not Get into Details
Step 6: Assigning the Resources
Who Defines the Resources?
Where Do the Resources Go?
Keep Track of Any Codes
Later, Combine Steps
Step 7: Estimate the Durations
Questions and Doubts
Handling a "Stiff Arm"
The Critical Path
No Estimate? There Can Be Reasons
A PERT Estimate
Handling Multiple Resources
Best Estimates but Not Their Tightest
Estimates in Days
Where to Place the Duration
Duration versus Workload
Step 8: Verify the Project Timeline
Three CPA Methods
Dates versus Absolute Days
All Paths Method
The Zero Method
The One Method
Critical Path Analysis (CPA)
Different Critical Paths
Show Your Work
Tendency to Make Changes
The Second Pass
First Pass and Backward CPA
CPA and the Project’s Target Date
Big Problem or Error?
When to Use PC Software
When Not to Use PC Software
Keep Their Attention
What Are You Changing Now?
Do Not Schedule Yet
III. Post -Planning Activities
Why a Second Pass?
Adjust the Timings
New Rule Applied and Added Value
Another Timing Parameter
PC Software versus Manual
Clean It Up
Lay Out the Gantt Chart
Where to Put the Scheduled Network
Tracking and Reporting
Keeping Track of Progress
Who Reports Actual Performance?
An Additional Value of Progress Reporting
Review the Situation
IV. Some Basic Project Management Issues
Let’s Practice: Case Study Summary
Step 2: Part One (Build)
Step 2: Part Two (Client Presentation)
History and Lessons Learned
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs Related to the Session
FAQs Regarding Post Session
FAQs Regarding Project Management in General
Essay: The WBS — Worth a Second Look
The WBS and Its Origin
Our Understanding of How the WBS Has Evolved
Sources of Our Understanding
How to Best Build and Use the WBS
"Step-by-step advancement industry professional Miller, a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies, explains the keys to an effective WBS through an Eight Step Process. … hands-on volume that includes a practice section for each of the eight steps, providing readers with real examples of how Miller has successfully applied the process. Unlike other books in project management, Building a Project Work Breakdown Structure not only thoroughly shows readers what they can do, but shows them how to do it. … unique and comprehensive volume."
– Business Economics 9.1.08