A project includes a series of activities. To analyze project activities, begin by creating a comprehensive sequential list of the major activities that the project deliverable require. Some of the Major activities for the XYZ Branch Office Training project (which will quickly be shortened to the “XYZ-BOT project are shown in Table 2.1.
TABLE2.1: BOT PROJECT ACTlVITIES
1. Develop proposal.
2. Get approval for project
3. Develop pretest
4. Set training schedule for each branch office.
5. Maketrainer travel arrangements.
6. Reservetraining facilities.
7. Pretest branch employees.
8. Prepare course materials.
9. Delivertraining at each office.
10. Posttest branch employees.
11. Evaluate the project
Just as the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, the only way to confidently determine the resources and costs for a project is to separate the project activities into bite-sized pieces. Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS is a method for analyzing activities. With WIS, you break each activity into sub activities and work padcoges (the lower-level activities that are required to complete the activity), create estimates for the work packages, and roll up the costs into the subactivities and activities. In the Work Breakdown Structure, the total program for the enterprise is the highest level of the structure. The XYZ-BOT project and other Train 2K projects are at the second level-the project level. Activities, sub activities, and work packages follow at levels 3, 4, and 5, as
shown in Figure 2.1.
Break each activity down into its logical work packages. Here’s one way to break down activity is, Prepare Course Materials:
8 Prepare course materials
8.1 Modify course materials
8.1.1 Identify current materials
8.1.2 Compare current materials to XYZskill list
8.1.3 Prepare list of modifications
8.1.4 Edit materials
8.2 Publish materials
8.3 Print materials
8.3.1 Duplicate materials
8.3.2 Bind materials
8.4 Ship materials to sites
8.4.1 Package materials
8.4.2 Address packages
8.4.3 Schedule delivery
The breakdown doesn’t need to have the same level of’detail for each activity. For example, sub activity 8.2 has no work packages, but 8.3 has two Ideally, a work: package is small enough that you can hand the package to a person or team for completion, and the assigi:\ees will understand the work included in the package. Each work package can be further broken down into one or more tasks.
Work package 8.2, for example, may require a series of steps that include identifying artwork, design and layout, desktop publishing, and printing. The best sowce for information about tasks (and the time that each task is estimated to take) is usually the department, person, or vendor who performs the task.
The XYZ-BOT project involves shipping materials to the XYZ client sites-an easy enough task that could probably be completed in less than an hour by anyone who can fill out a shipping form. (Imagine a project that includes a direct mailing to XYZ Company’s 3500 current customersl) The project manager (PM) at XYZ Company hasn’t done many bulk mailings, so she talks to the manager of the Shipping department \~M). The project manager’s purpose is not to become an expert on shipping, but to understand direct mailing processes in her organization. See the following dialogue:
Project Manager (PM): Myproject involves a direct mailing to our current customers. I need to know what’s involved so I can create the budget and schedule. Shipping Manager (SM): How many pieces?
PM: Between 3500 and 4000.
SM: What kind of pieces?
PM: Eight-and-a-half by eleven-inch catalogs. We think they’ll be about 40 pages total.
SM: Are we using envelopes or addressing directly on the catalog?
PM: I’m planning on envelopes.
SM: Simple enough. It will take us a day to get the mailing out We’ll bill the costs back to your department I can send you an estimate next week.
Although you may now have a sense of what’s required roplan for the mailing, overlooked activities that “crop up” later can delay the project and increase costs. In our example, what activities has the shipping manager included in the estimate of one day? What activities are not included, but are critical to the completion of the mailing? The project manager needs to ask questions to identify process inputs: in this example, the activities that are completed outside the shipping department that the shipping manager doesn’t reflect in his estimate. Consider the following dialogue:
I know we need to provide the catalogs, but ‘Nryatelse do you expect me to provide? po J need to provid~ theenvelopes? SM: Oh, you need us to’ stuff them, too? We ca’h order envelopes, but we’ll need extra time to put your catalogs in the envelopes, and we need a week’s lead time to guarantee that the envelopes will get here. Normally, J contract assembly work to a local vendor. If we do it, it’s done manually. They can turn around 5000 pieces pretty quickly,
but we need to get in their schedule. .
PM: And where do you get the address labels?
SM: From you. You might want to talk to Customer Service to see whether they can provide them for you:
You and the shipping manager now have a much better idea of what’s expected. You can create a project plan that includes these activities, although you’ll still need to conduct some additional research to find out about obtaining labels. A numbered list is a common way to present activities, sub activities, and work packages. In this stage of the project, don’t hesitate to provide information in a variety of formats to enhance communication about the activities that the project encompasses, and participate in the planning process. The list is one communication tool, but some people find a flowchart or workflow diagram more accessible. You can create flowcharts like the one shown in Figure 2.2 by using the Drawing tools in Word or Excel.
These diagrams aren’t a replacement for the charts and reports you’ll crea e later in Project 2000. Rather, they are tools to communicate with stakeholders and resource people while you’re gathering information for design and developmen . As you 11see
in Chapter 4, “Project 2000 Quickstart,” activities, subactivities, and work packages can be pasted or imported from another application such as Excel or created directly in Microsoft Project 2000. Figure 2.4 shows a list of the project acti vrities listed previously in Microsoft Project 2000’s Gantt Chart view, which you’ll be using inn.