The four basic types of project organization are functional, projectized, matrixed, and composite. In functional project organization, projects are assigned to an appropriate functional organization within the firm. One advantage of the format is specialists in the division can be grouped to share knowledge and experience. However, one disadvantage is the client is not the focus of activity and concern. In projectized organization, projects are freestanding entities with a full complexent of the functions needed for their operation. One advantage is it is simple and flexible. Since the PM has full line authority over the project, unity of command exists. However, a disadvantage is these organizations foster inconsistencies in the application of policy and procedure. In a matrixes organization, the PM is loaned resources needed from the functional departments. One advantage of using the format is the project has reasonable access to functional experts. Still, a disadvantage is unity of command is violated. Lastly, in composite project organization, different forms of project organizations may coexist in the same firm. One advantage of the organization type is projects can be characterized by territory which is particularly attractive at companies with products containing geographical uniqueness. A disadvantage of composite organization is it is rarely observed for a long duration as rather parts of a project are seen as independent operations which makes it difficult to clarify and act on the general project’s purpose in functional departments.
The WBS shows the work elements of a project hierarchically, moving from tasks to subtasks, to work packages, and so on. The WBS can be thought of as the basis of the project plan where each level in the WBS creaks down the work activities into greater detail.
Maintaining the “hierarchical planning” discipline will help keep the plan focused on the project’s deliverables rather than on the work at a subsystem level. The WBS is the “heart” of the project as it outlines the scope. It is important because it shows how the project’s goals are going to be achieved so the purpose of all stakeholders is fulfilled. Objectives are taken from the project charter. Knowing the tasks enables the project team to be proactive which minimizes risk. It allows the project team to plan, schedule, cost, budget, allocate resources, perform risk assessments, monitor the progress of the WBS element and its effect on the overall project performance, and at the completion of the WBS element it is closed out and shows the close out status of the entire project. If the PM wishes, the WBS can list the vendors or subcontractors associated with specific tasks. It may notes detailed specifications for any work package, establish account numbers, specify hardware/software to be used, and identify resource needs. Generally, the WBS is a planning tool, but it may also be used as an aid in monitoring and controlling projects. Without a WBS, the “health of the project” by “Earned Value Analysis” is not known as the project progress. Other aspects of a well written WBS allow for computerization to role up lower level elements to higher levels for cost estimating and provides valuable summary level information to upper management. The WBS also provides the introduction to other very important project documents, such as the WBS Dictionary, the Scope of Work Statement, and the Project Management Plan. Every project needs a WBS.
The nine key elements of the project charter are the launch, purpose, objectives, overview, schedules, resources, stakeholders, risk management and evaluation methods. The launch entails a clear beginning of the project as senior management outlines the firm’s intent
with the sponsor and other key stakeholders participating. It is a symbol of the management’s commitment to the project. The purpose is a short statement of the project’s general goals and a brief explanation of their relationship to the firm’s objectives. The Business Case is part of the purpose as it includes not only market opportunities and profit potentials but also defines needs of the organization. The objectives section contains a more detailed statement of the general goals and their priorities as well as brings in the definition of a successful project while detailing how it will be closed out. The overview section provides a description of managerial and technical approaches to the work. Also included here is a description of the assumptions the project is based on and contingency plans in the assumptions don’t prove to be correct or procedures change. The schedule element lists all milestone events. Each summary task is listed with the estimated time obtained from those who will do the work. The resources element contains the budget, a complete list and description of all contractual items, as well as the set of cost monitoring and control procedures. The stakeholders element lists analysis of the major human impactors of the project and also lists expected personnel. The risk management plan covers potential problems and potential lucky breaks that could affect the project. Project planning in this regard brings improved success on schedule overrun, cost overrun, technical performance, and customer satisfaction. Lastly, evaluation methods declare procedures to be followed in monitoring, collecting, storing, auditing, and evaluating lessons learned after project termination.
The WBS can be in outline form or a block chart form. It needs to be designed to follow the life cycle of the project. To start crafting the content for the design, the first step is to make a
list of activities in the general order they would occur. Then break the first list of items into sub- tasks. It’s similar to how a person who is sketching a human face starts by marking the general lines on the person and then filling in the details.
To be sufficient in detail, the WBS needs to have higher level elements clearly lead to a final deliverable as a work package. The work package is the deliverable and should be defined as the completion of a noun (i.e. “Report Completed” or “Permit Approved”). The work package may have sub-elements or tasks to be completed. To get to the work package deliverable, the best WBS has 6 levels of indenture as in an outline. The element leading to the work package should be defined with an action verb (i.e. “Prepare Report” or “Prepare Permit”). To have clear organization, numbering each element is essential to a properly written WBS. The numbering of each WBS allows for the roll up of the sub elements to the top level element for budgeting purposes. It identifies the cost of preparing the report as the final deliverable by rolling all the lower level elements up to the top level element for cost and schedule reporting.