Lesson 3
3a Project Scope

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Main task in project planning phase is to create all plans which we need for implementing and closing the project. We start with planning the project scope, in two steps.

(1) Design of the result: Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)

A tangible project result needs a design. Usually, we start with a preliminary design or design draft, and refine it several times. For example 3 of page 2a SMART Project Goals, the office desk, we start with this design draft.

Then, the Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) would be:

We call this object-oriented structuring approach because it yields a decomposition of an object (the desk) into sub-objects.

(2) Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) shall give a complete overview over all the work that has to be done in order to reach the project goal.

For setting up the WBS, we ask the question what work we have to do in order to obtain the sub-objects (the parts of the desk) and the finished project result (the complete desk). We start with the sub-objects of the PBS. In our example we could end up with something like this:

The example shows:

  • The lowest structural level of a WBS contains only work packages (WP's).
  • We organize the work packages in groups or sub-groups.
  • Every work package consists of verb (that indicates what we shall do) and object (that indicates on what we shall work).
  • The WBS shall be free of contradictions (different work packages identifying the same work in different ways).
  • The WBS shall be free of redundancies (different work packages identifying the same work).

As we will see later, it is particularly difficult to set up a WBS that is complete, i.e. that contains all the work necessary. For this, we need advice of experienced experts.

Since we started with an object-oriented PBS in our example we would have missed important work. Therefore, we created a group of work packages "other work" containing all the work packages that do not fit under any sub-object.

Setting up the WBS, completes planning the project scope.

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