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Work Breakdown Structure

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

What is a WBS?
A (deliverable-oriented) hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish projects objectives and create the required deliverable

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Why?
To decompose the complexity of project work into smaller, more manageable components. The lowest level is called workpackage and it is the point at which cost and schedule can be reliably estimated

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WBS: Remarks
Two formats
Graphical tree Textual outline

Uses a decimal numbering system to identify elements (Ex: 3.1.5) May include Development, Management, and project support tasks Shows is contained in relationships Does not show dependencies or durations

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WBS Chart Example


1 Accounting System

1.1 Project Management

1.2 HW Procurement

1.3 SW Development

1.4 Training

1.5 Deployment

1.3.1 Requirements

1.3.2 Design

1.3.3 Build

1.3.4 Integration

1.3.5 System Test

1.3.6 Acceptance Test

1.3.3.1 DB Development

1.3.3.2 Client

1.3.3.3 Web App Development

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WBS Outline Example


1. Accounting System
1.1.Project Management 1.2.HW Procurement 1.3.SW Development
1.3.1.Requirements 1.3.2.Design 1.3.3.Build
1.3.3.1.DB Development 1.3.3.2.Client 1.3.3.3.Web App Development

1.3.5.System Test 1.3.6.Acceptance Test

1.4.Training 1.5.Deployment

1.3.4.Integration

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WBS Types
Process WBS
a.k.a. Activity-oriented Ex: Requirements, Analysis, Design, Testing Typically used by PM

Product WBS
a.k.a. Entity-oriented Ex: Financial engine, Interface system, DB Typically used by engineering manager

Hybrid WBS: both of the above


This is not unusual Ex: Life cycle phases at high level with component or featurespecics within phases Rationale: processes produce products

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WBS Types
Less frequently used alternatives: Organizational WBS
Research, Product Design, Engineering, Operations Can be useful for highly cross-functional projects

Geographical WBS
Can be useful with distributed teams NYC team, San Jose team, Off-shore team

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Product WBS
Software System

Requirements Document

Architecture Document

Front End

Middleware

Back End

Site Templates

Web Pages

SQL Schema

DB Data

Admin Intf

Dynamic Pages

Static Pages

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Process WBS
System Development

Requirements Analysis

Analysis and Design

Coding

Testing

Cycle 1

Cycle 2

Integration

Scenarios Analysis

Security Req. Analysis

Supportability Req. Anal.

System Test

Acceptance Test

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WBS Rules of the Thumb


Some good rules for writing WBSs are:
The 100% rule: make sure all work items are there (product oriented WBS are better suited for this kind of rule) The ME rule (Mutually Exclusive rule): make sure there are no overlaps in the denition of the elements (especially workpackages) No need to make it balanced: all paths do not have to go to the same level

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Work Packages
Leaves of the WBS usually correspond to elements that can be reliably estimated and are called Work Packages (PMBOK denition. However, work package often used with to specify group of activities, e.g. non leaf elements of the WBS) The one-to-two rule
Often at: 1 or 2 persons for 1 or 2 weeks However: avoid micro-management (do not plan more than you can manage) Integration with other techniques (e.g. Gantt)

Basis for monitoring and reporting progress


Can be tied to budget items (charge numbers) Resources (personnel) assigned

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WBS Construction Techniques


Development Style: Top-Down Bottom-Up Analogy Techniques Rolling Wave
* 1st pass: go 1-3 levels deep * Gather more requirements or data * Add more detail later

Brainstorming/Post-its on a wall
* Generate all activities you can think of that need to be done * Group them into categories

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WBS Techniques: Top Down


Start at highest level Systematically develop increasing level of detail Best if
The problem is well understood Technology and methodology are not new This is similar to an earlier project or problem

Applied in majority of situations

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WBS Techniques: Bottom Up


Start at lowest level tasks Aggregate into summaries and higher levels Cons
Time consuming Needs more requirements complete

Pros
Detailed

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WBS Techniques: Analogy


Base WBS upon that of a similar project Use a template Pros
Some process activities occur for all (e.g. Planning, conguration, testing)

Based on past actual experience

Cons
Needs comparable project (the activities occurring for every project are not the difcult part!)

The Project Management Institute Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures provides guidance for the generation, development, and application of WBS. The publication contains industry-specic examples.

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Breakdown Structures
Breakdown structures are used for various purposes Organizational breakdown structure Bill of Material Risk Breakdown Structure Resource Breakdown Structure

do not confuse WBS with the ones above

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Final General Remarks


Remember to get the people who will be doing the work involved (buy-in matters!) Use a text editor or tools such as Visio, DIA, MS Project

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WBS Examples

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WBS Example (PMBOK)


Aircraft System Project Management Support Equipment Test and Evaluation

Training

Data

Air Vehicle

Facilities

System Engineering Management

Services Training

Technical Orders

Airframe

Organizational level SE

Base Building

Mockups

Supporting PM activities

Facilities Training

Engineering Data

Engine

Intermediate level SE

Mainteinance Facility

Operational Test

Equipment Training

Management Data

Communicatio n systems

Dept level SE

Developmental Test

Navigation System

Test

Fire Control System

Source: PMBOK
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WBS Example (PMBOK)


Software Product Release

Project Management

Product Requirement

Detail Design

Construct

Integration and Test

Planning

Software

Software

Software

Software

Meetings

User Documentation

User Documentation

User Documentation

User Documentation

Administration

Training Program Material

Training Program Material

Training Program Material

Training Program Material

Remark: three products (Software, User Documentation, Training Program Material) and activities to delineate the three products (e.g. Requirements of Software, Requirements of User Documentation, Requirements of Training Material)

Source: PMBOK

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Some other Examples


Military: MIL-STD-881A, MIL-STD-881B, MILHDBK-881 (1998) Civil Engineering: http://www.csinet.org/s_csi/ docs/15700/15694.pdf

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