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PMP® Exam Prep - How to Create WBS

PMP® Exam Prep, Project Management Certification Training - How to Create WBS

by Mo Haque, MSEE, MSEE, PMP - still current 2-13-16

Detailed requirements must be documented, categorized and prioritized. A scope, defining the total work and only the work that must be completed in order to deliver the project product must be defined. This scope must be further clarified by means of a scope statement. The scope statement elaborates what is and what is not included in the project scope. Often the project managers confuse the product scope and project scope.

The product scope depicts the features and functions of the product. The project scope is the work that must be done to deliver the product. The project scope can then be decomposed into work categories by executing the process known as “Create WBS”.

Best Ways to Create WBS

• Decompose project’s scope into high level deliverables as work categories
• Divide a big (major) category into sub categories
• Do not exceed more than 3 sub categories in each major category
• Define each category and sub category as nouns
• Define all activities in each category – this is known as WBS Dictionary or Work Package
• Ensure all activity attributes are well defined during “Define Activity” and ensure all downstream process outputs are captured, such as
 Processors
 Successors
 Resources
 Resource Cost, Rate and Cost Types
 Hours (Effort, Duration & Unit)
 Constraints (Activity Dependencies and Relationships)
 Lead and Lag
 Project Buffers and Feed Buffers
 Quality Metrics
 Risk Strategies
• Include project management as a major category
• Define project activities as verbs within the project management category
• Describe project activities such that the work can be controlled
• Outline project activities such that authority, responsibility, and accountability can be assigned to an Individual or a Group
• Define activities such that progress can be measured
• Identify activities such that duration and cost for each activity can be determined
• Ensure that the sum of activities for each category will be produced with the desired quality
• Do not exceed more than 20 activities per category or a sub category
• Identify Work, Effort and Duration for each activity. See below.

Work, Effort and Duration

• Work = Duration X Unit
 Work is total effort for the activity.
 Duration is the activity duration – number of work periods.
 Units are an indicator of resources’ availability. The maximum UNIT is 100 percent when referring to a single person available to work 100% of the time.
• Fixed Duration – the duration doesn’t change regardless of resource assignments; however, the start and end dates can be changed
• Fixed Dates – also referred to as activity constraints. You can fix the start or finish date of an activity with a constraint such as “Must Start On” or “Must Finish On”, and the date will remain fixed.

Setting Activity Constraints using Microsoft Project

A constraint controls the start or finish date of an activity and the degree to which that activity can be rescheduled. There are three categories of constraints:

• Flexible constraints – A Project Manager using Microsoft Project can change the start and finish dates of a project activity. The default constraint type in Project is that an activity starts as soon as possible. This type of flexible constraint is called “As Soon As Possible”, or “ASAP” for short. No constraint date is associated with flexible constraints.

• Inflexible constraints – An activity must begin or end on a certain date. For example, you can specify that an activity must end on July 9, 2012. Inflexible constraints are sometimes called hard constraints.

• Semi-flexible constraints – An activity has a start or finish date boundary. However, within that boundary, you have the scheduling flexibility to change the start and finish dates of an activity. For example, let’s say an activity must finish no later than October 15, 2012. However, the activity could finish before this date. Semi-flexible constraints are sometimes called soft or moderate constraints.

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