You completed the Detailed Product Flow (DPF) (see immediately previous post). You are clear about the products you will deliver to the client. Now you have to plan how you are going to do this. You need to identify specific activities necessary for completing each product. There will be several line items of activities for each product. Some will precede others. You will have to complete some activities before you can start other activities. This process is the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS will help you to control level-of-effort.
There are four steps in developing the WBS. First, clarify the purpose of each product: why are we completing this product? Second, specify all the activities to complete the product as fit-for-purpose. In other words, define the necessary scope of the work activities. Third, delegate these work line items to identified team members. You must align the members’ expertise with the competence that the client requires. Fourth, estimate level of effort required for each line action. The number of team members as well as the complexity of the activity will suggest the time required. It is very important to get the timing right here. In this regard consult the description of the content of the products. Note the exclusions in the DPF. Remember, the purpose of the WBS is to enable you to control project level of effort.
The WBS and the DPF are tools for managing scope creep and client expectations. The DPF sets limits to the products that you will complete. The DPF also sets limits to what the products will look like. What they will include. And what they will exclude. The WBS sets the limits to the time you and your team will spend on completing each product. In other words the WBS enables you to control project level of effort.
We submitted a WBS as part of our proposal to the Social Housing Regulatory Agency (SHRA). This was for the tender for assessing performance of Social Housing Institutions (SHIs). We clarified the specific activities to complete each of the four products for SHRA. We delegated specific team members to carry out specific activities. We did this on the basis of the expertise demonstrated in their CVs. We checked that this expertise aligned with the competnce required by SHRA.
We thought long and hard about how much person time each activity requires. We divided the necessary time – as portions of a day or in hours – to each of our team members.
We please ourselves that that we stay in control of project level of effort.
We hope that you find this INSITE WBS form useful to stay in control of your project level of effort. You can achieve this through thorough planning. Effective project management presupposes effective project planning. An effective project plan makes possible an effective management of that project. Without a structured plan you are likely to mismanage the project.
We hope that you find this INSITE WBS form useful to stay in control.