Thursday 10 February 2022

Hierarchical structure of project work within the framework of management activities

The hierarchical structure of works (from the English "Work Breakdown Structure") is a tool that allows you to divide a whole project into its component elements. This tool defines a hierarchically structured division of work in order to implement the project by all employees involved in it.

In the process of creating WBS, a sequential decomposition of the project into sub projects, packages of works of various levels, packages of detailed works is implemented.

Definition 2

Decomposition is the breakdown of the final results of the project into smaller, more manageable elements down to the level of work packages.

Work packages tend to coincide with the lowest level of detail and include individual works. According to the technology, the decomposition should be correct, that is, the components of any level of the WBS should be sufficient to form the appropriate component of the upper level.

The hierarchical structure of the work, in fact, is a list of tasks of the whole project. This tool can be presented in descriptive or graphic form, which would reflect the attachment of works. This hierarchy of work organizes and defines the complete content of the entire project.

Observation 1

Accordingly, works that are not included in the IMR are not project works.

A popular problem for project management today is the irrational size of work packages that are too large for productive management. In order to form an expedient size of work packages, you must follow the following rules:

  • The 8/80 rule, which states that no task should have a volume of less than 8 people / hour and more than 80 people / hour (this is identical to the scheme from 1 to 10 days with a standard 8-hour duration of the working day).
  • The rule of the reporting period states that the duration of each task should not exceed the period after which meetings are held that are devoted to the study of the progress of the project itself. For example, in the case of such meetings every week, the execution of each task should not take more than a week.

The rule of "usefulness" says that in the case of splitting the task into smaller ones, it is worth taking into account that there are 3 reasons that determine the expediency of such a division:

  • The problem that was obtained as a result of such a division is much easier to evaluate (due to its shorter duration in time space and, thus, less uncertainty);
  • smaller and more specific tasks are more easily distributed among specific performers;
  • smaller tasks are easier to control.

Observation 2

In the case when the division of the task does not meet the requirements described above, it should be abandoned.

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure tool is done in three ways:

  • from top to bottom;
  • from bottom to top;
  • simultaneous use of two approaches.

As a rule, the so-called "traveling wave" is used. This path is characterized by the fact that a greater distance in time of an element corresponds to a smaller depth of its decomposition.

Based on the results of building a Work Breakdown Structure, all the goals of the project we need should be taken into account and all the necessary prerequisites for its effective implementation should be created. Principles for the separation of the integrity of the project can be:

  • components of goods (services, vectors of activity), which is obtained as a result of the project implementation;
  • process or functional components of the activities of the organization that is engaged in the implementation of the project;
  • stages of the project life cycle, its key phases;
  • organizational structure departments;
  • geographical location for projects distributed in space.
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Literacy and the ability to correctly decompose the project consists in agreeing on the key structures of the project, which include:

  • (Organisation Breakdown Structure);
  • (Account Breakdown Structure);
  • структура ресурсов (Resource Breakdown Structure);
  • functional structure;
  • information structure;
  • the structure of time intervals.

Work Breakdown Structure should display the structure of the formed object at the highest level of management and make it possible to move to structures that characterize the specific work of the lower levels.

Lower-level tasks are included in the work schedule, according to them, the time of project implementation and the amount of project costs are estimated. Moreover, for each level, a procedure for appointing responsible officers and a procedure for dealing with specific situations should be provided, taking into account the priorities of the higher levels of the Work Breakdown Structure.

The list of works at the lower level should correspond to such principles as to be exhaustive for the implementation of the project, and decomposition is one of the most important tasks of the project manager. Due to the fact that the implementation of the project content can be tracked by the Work Breakdown Structure, and the content of the project products is compared with the requirements for it, the Work Breakdown Structure should be built so that the result of the design work is the formation of a given content of the project's products.

Work Breakdown Structure

On the basis of preliminary information, a consistent and systematic decomposition of all design work is carried out. This process is carried out until all the important components are defined so that they can be planned, a budget has been determined for them, and so on.

Each component of the Work Breakdown Structure must be assigned a unique identifier. In this mechanism, account codes are used for this, that is, each component is assigned a WBS code.

These codes are organized according to the chart of accounts - the system for tracking project costs by category (the chart of accounts is based on the chart of accounts of the organization and the generally accepted management accounting system in it). Control accounts are parts of management accounting that are associated with the departments of the company and contain work packages in their composition, and are also included in the Work Breakdown Structure.

All the components of the Work Breakdown Structure are described in the dictionary, which includes a brief description of each element that is included in the hierarchy of works, that is:

  • A reference to a higher WBS element.
  • Account code identifier (WBS code)
  • the responsible person (or the company in the case of contractors);
  • description of works;
  • a list of watch events
  • expected result, quality requirements;
  • necessary contractual and technical information and documentation.

Due to the fact that in practice individual types of work are often integrated into packages, the dictionary may also contain a list of operations (for a package of works), the necessary resources and an indicative cost estimate.

Definition 3

Decomposition is the basis of project planning. It is a basic tool for creating a project management system, because it makes it possible to solve the problems of work organization, distribution of responsibility, cost assessment and the like.

On the basis of Work Breakdown Structure, other structural models of the project are created, for example:

  • structural model of project organization, that is, hierarchical decomposition of the organizational and production structure of the project;
  • the responsibility-sharing matrix;
  • a resource tree, that is, a decomposition of the resources required to complete the project.
  • cost tree, that is, the separation of all cost indicators based on the Work Breakdown Structure, the resource tree and information about the cost of the components of the project;
  • structural decomposition of contracts by project elements;
  • network model of the project.

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