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5.4. Create WBS

  • Inputs – Scope Management Plan, Project Scope Statement, Requirements Documentation Enterprise environmental factors, Organizational process, assets.
  • Tools – Decomposition, Expert judgment
  • Outputs – Scope baseline, Project documents updates

 WBS or Work Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables (source PMI glossary). The create WBS process is The process of subdividing project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components (source PMI glossary). The key benefit of the process, according to the PMBoK 5ed, is that it provides a structures vision of what has to be delivered. The WBS itself is not the project Gantt, the outcome of the composition will later become the Gantt, but the WBS itself decompose the deliverables (the process is called decomposition) into smaller, more manageable and more precise, elements.During the decomposition process the project team takes the scope statement and requirements documentation and “breaks” them down to the smallest possible units, called work packages. The output is a graphical / visual diagram which represents the scope baseline. This also allow to outline the dependencies is greater detail and better assign work packages. 

The real value of WBS is not in the visual output itself, but in the process the project team has to go through to make it. It forces the team to think about all the processes and work required to get the job done and deliver the project. In other words work packages and activities not included in the WBS will not be done.

Things to Remember:

  1. WBS can be organized by more than one way, for example project phase, or major deliverables.
  2. WBS assignments are made at the work package level

Additional benefits for creating WBS

  1. Allows for clear assignment of team members and other resources to activities
  2. Increases the changes that all required activities are indeed included in the scope.
  3. It is important to remember that a work package for one team member may also be a complete project.
    It is usually common in very large scale projects, for example store establishment, where setting up the IT systems can be a work package assigned to the IT manager in the global project WBS, but also a complete sub-project with a WBS of its own for the IT department.

WBS Dictionary

The PMI glossary definition for the WBS dictionary is “A document that provides detailed deliverable, activity, and scheduling information about each component in the work breakdown structure.” In practice you can think about it as an appendix to the WBS, it is a documents that elaborated WBS information that simply does not fit in the WBS chart or matrix itself.

5.5. Validate Scope

  • Inputs – Project Management Plan, Requirements Documentation, Requirements Tractability Matrix, Verified Deliverables, Work Performance Data
  • Tools – Inspection, Group Decision Making Techniques
  • Outputs – Accepted Deliverables, Change Requests, Work Performance Information, Project Documents Updates

This process formalizes the acceptance of the completed project deliverables. In other words, you can think of this process as 1 or 0 result, the customer test the deliverable and either accept it or not (which will result in a change request).
Validate scope is a control process, and the tool used for control is inspection. Since more than one test, or one control to carry out, a group decision making techniques are needed to come to an agreement on the result.

The outputs are either accepted deliverables  – and this is pf course the desired outcome, we want the customer to formally approve and accept the deliverable.  The best way to accomplish that will be to define early on in the project , what is the acceptance criteria and to include checkpoints or inspections point along the development process to make sure we are on track.
In case the customer did not accept the deliverables, a change request will be submitted (this is another output of this process). This change request will be handled via the project change management protocols.

The two final outputs of this process are work performance information which is the analyzed data from the control activities, and project documents updates for example: change requests, signed documents for accepted deliverables and so.

5.6. Control Scope

  • Inputs – Project Management Plan, Requirements Documentation, Requirements Traceability Matrix, Work Performance Data, Organizational process assets
  • Tools – Variance Analysis
  • Outputs – Work Performance Information, Change Requests, Project Management Plan Updates, Project Documents Updates, Organizational process assets updates

This is the second control process in project scope management. Control scope is the process of  monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline (PMI glossary).
Unlike validate scope which focuses on the deliverables, control scope deals with the process of creating the deliverables. You can think about this process as if asking yourself, are we doing things the right way? This is an classic case of actual vs, plan.

The major (and only) tool  used in this process is variance analysis which is defined by the PMI glossary as “A technique for determining the cause and degree of difference between the baseline and actual performance. “

Ideally, we would like a result of 0, meaning no variance. Mainly what we would like to accomplish is avoiding a Scope creep which stands for continuous and uncontrolled changes or growth in a project’s scope. This can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined and/or controlled.

The outcome of the analysis  may be a (for example) change request such as delay delivery on one week, or more budget (which will influence the budget but is not CR).
Additional outputs are forecasts (in general as project managers we are always expected to provide not only status updates, but also forecasts), documents updates etc.

Validate scope vs Control scope

Validate scope

Control scope

Focus on the deliverables

Focus on the project

The result is an actual product or a service

The result is a feedback on the quality and the progress of the project

PMI Spirit

  • Golden plate is very strong term when in comes to scope management. Give the customer exactly what was agreed on, nothing more, or less.
  • Scope management include both project and product scope management.
  • It is important to note that the word “task” is not part of PMI vocabulary. PMI uses the term work package instead. Work package is the lowest level at the WBS diagram, and they are made of activities.
  • Scope changes must be examined vs time, cost, quality, risk and other required resource in the project (change management)
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