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1

What is the stage of project planning: 'Work Breakdown'?

At the start of a project – or a project phase – all relevant information for that phase must be gathered. This information is then assessed, with discussions and assistance from as many teams involved in the project as possible, leading to the creation of a project or work breakdown structure. This is simply a division of the project into technically coherent blocks of related activities broken down into levels of increasing detail. The blocks may be product-oriented and broken down into levels of hardware, e.g. main equipment, sub-assemblies, major and minor components, systems-oriented, or function-oriented and broken down into levels of organisational disciplines

2

What is the stage of project planning: 'Work Packages'?

By extending the breakdown structure so that related products and functions are brought together, work packages may be defined, i.e. parcels of work which can be individually planned (i.e. resourced, scheduled and costed). Work packages normally represent smallest entities to carry costs at total project level, although further breakdowns may be possible dependent upon each participating organisation’s own cost collection and control systems. Work package costs (estimates and actuals) can then be used, firstly to produce a project budget and secondly to monitor performance against this. Project Planning focuses on defining clear, discrete activities and the work needed to complete each activity within a single project. Once these activities and their scope have been defined, programming (or scheduling) tools can be used to fit these activities into an appropriate timescale.

3

What are the factors affecting the Work Breakdown Structure?

>Detailed planning should be pushed down to the lowest level of management which is acceptable without affecting efficiency.
>Most projects can be divided into a number of distinct chronological stages, each of which is likely to have a different set of objectives and organisation. These greatly influence the project plans, and many different plans may be set up, such as those for management functions, quality assurance and reliability, contracting, design engineering, procurement and construction, as well as programming and cost control.
>Planning should be initiated early to be of help in project control, so that as many foreseeable questions as possible can be dealt with before the project gets under way.
>Historical data is important but only the future can be changed. Therefore project management should concentrate on planning work to be done rather than in analysing the finished article.
>Before embarking upon a detailed plan of any project, especially the larger, more complex ones, it is advisable to summarise and assess all available data and relevant knowledge explicitly.
>Negotiations at high management level may already have occurred prior to this stage and preliminary study or proposals will have been undertaken. Unfortunately, the project manager is often not appointed at this early stage and may later be committed to conditions which he may consider unsound or invalid.

4

What is the definition of network structure?

Network structure refers to the technical division of the programme of work into different sub projects and sub networks, the amount and type of detail to be covered by each, and the types of interface between them. Network levels should reflect levels in project management responsibility (decision levels). Sub networks should represent technically related blocks of work compatible with the project breakdown structure and should minimise the interfaces which have to be controlled. Sub networks should also be kept to manageable sizes. The main requirement is that the network should be representative of the project, the activities being clearly defined, and the events should represent stages which can be defined and measured.

5

What are the advantages of using arrow on node notation?

>no dummy activities (i.e. those that are not real activities but are needed to control
the network logic) are required, except at the start and finish of the network;
>overlapping and delaying of activities are easily dealt with;
>lead and lag arrows can be incorporated neatly;
>revision of the network and introduction of new activities is straightforward;
>use of pre-printed node sheets is possible;
>it allows the simple calculation of the critical path