BUS 380 Week 6 WBS Uncertainty and Dependency Relationships

Work Breakdown Schedules, Uncertainty, and Dependency Relationships

BUS 380

The project plan must be appropriate to the size, complexity and risk for the project. It is a consistent coherent document and consists of the deliverables for all of the knowledge areas of the project. Attributes of a good project plan include being dynamic in nature, flexible, updated as changes occur, and guide project execution. Project plans should never assume the team will work overtime, at least not at the start. It is necessary to create a project plan for a number of reasons. Main elements include the scope management plan, human resources management plan, time/schedule management plan, cost management plan, process improvement plan, communication management plan, risk management plan and procurement management plan. All of these elements depend on the work breakdown structure to make sure they are covered. The work breakdown structure organizes the work activities to achieve the goal of objective of the project in the most effective form. The development of the work breakdown structure is one of the most critical activities of the project planning process. It should illustrate the relationships of critical work elements of the project and how they relate to the end product.

Key objectives should be determined, with tasks necessary to reach the project goal identified before creating the work breakdown schedule. The scope management plan refers to all of the work involved in accomplishing the project and the processes used to create them. It depends on the work breakdown structure to describe the tasks associated with the deliverables necessary to accomplish the project. The cost management plan is very important to the success of a project. Staying within the budget is a key performance indicator. Errors found upstream during the planning phase cost less to fix during than errors found downstream. Forecasting is not an easy task, however a good plan should include a risk management plan to address and escalate issues as they arise. There is no restriction on what a work breakdown component may be.

Sometimes it is not necessary to “re-invent the wheel” when developing a work breakdown schedule. When a business works on numerous projects that entail the same nature of work, modifying an existing work breakdown schedule may be feasible. However, it is necessary, for the project team to review the existing work breakdown schedule and make sure it accurately and specifically define and organize the scope of the current project. This is necessary to make sure that the assignment of responsibilities, allocation of resources, project monitoring and control takes place. Every project may have unusual or specific deliverables that need to be defined so the project team knows what has to be accomplished within each deliverable. Cost estimation, risk and time estimation is also necessary for all new projects because of unique project in itself. A work breakdown structure should always allow the team to double check all the deliverables and specific information about the project with the stakeholders and make sure there is nothing missing or overlapping. They should also make sure that all requirements are documented and detail what a particular product or service should be or perform. The requirement should identify a necessary attribute, capability, function, characteristic or quality of the project in order for it to have end-user value.

It is very useful to have a complete work breakdown schedule before engaging in formal uncertainty assessment. Uncertainty analysis occurs at every stage of the project management process, beginning with project selection and continues until the project or completed product is handed off to the customer. The work breakdown schedule can be used during the planning phase because it can show possible outcomes and be a common framework for quantifying the cost impacts. In the requirement phase of a particular project, a work breakdown structure will show the cost elements that may affect the total cost of the project or product and whether or not delivering the project or product within the cost and schedule estimate is feasible. When there are limited resources or particular products needed to complete the project/product, this will give the team sufficient time to procure the resources needed to initiate the process.

There is a difference between hard logic and soft logic for establishing dependency relationships in project schedules. After a project manager assembles a project team and outlines the project goals and objective, the team should collaborate their efforts in developing a project network diagram. Tasks can be identified using sticky notes and then re-arranged in order per the sequence of the work to be performed. The team can brainstorm in the process and develop a rough draft to determine the hard logic which has to be done in a fixed sequence. This will allow them to communicate any issues or concerns with the project. Soft logic can be added later and include any tasks that will be considered a succeeding activity.


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