Students will learn how to describe the work of a project in terms of items that are “in scope” or “out of scope”. Students will also learn how to develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Outcomes Met With This Assignment:
contribute to a team activity to accomplish the goals of a project, recognizing the unique strengths and talents of individual team members
plan a project that meets organizational goals and that has a high probability of success
This assignment is the third of seven team assignments. As a team, you will generate a detailed scope statement and create a Work Breakdown Structure for the project your group selected in Week 1.
Step 1: Preparation for Writing the Assignment
Before you begin writing the paper, read the following requirements that will help you meet the writing and APA requirements. Not reading this information will lead to a lower grade:
Read the grading rubric for the assignment. Use the grading rubric while writing the paper to ensure all requirements are met.
In writing this assignment, you will read and follow these tasks:
Read the grading rubric for the assignment. Use the grading rubric while writing the paper to ensure all requirements are met.
Third person writing is required. Third person means that there are no words such as “I”, “me”, “my”, “we”, or “us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you” or “your” (second person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person.
Contractions are not used in business writing, so you are expected NOT to use contractions in writing this assignment.
For all source material used in the analysis, you will paraphrase and not use direct quotation marks but will instead paraphrase. What this means is that you will put the ideas of an author or article into your own words rather than lifting directly from a source document. You may not use more than four consecutive words from a source document, as doing so would require direct quotation marks. This requirement include facts from the case scenario. Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks.
You are responsible for APA only for in-text citations and a reference list. At a minimum, this deliverable should include in-text citations and references for information relating to the organization’s purpose, goals, strategy, and/or objectives.
You are expected to use the weekly courses readings to develop the analysis and support the reasoning. The expectation is that you provide a robust use of the course readings. Any material used from a source document (including both course readings and outside materials) must be cited and referenced. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa. View the APA under Content on the main navigation bar.
You may not use books in completing this project.
Provide the page or paragraph number in every in-text citation presented. If using an eBook from the classroom, you may see that there are no page numbers so you will provide the Chapter Name and Section Title.
Step 2: Set Up the Paper
Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point font. The final product does not have a page limit but you want to make sure to write clearly and concisely.
Follow this format. Consider making an outline to ensure the correct headings are in place and to help you organize the paper.
Title page with title, your name, the course, the instructor’s name; date
Step 3: Brainstorm
Under Discussion on the main navigation bar, locate your group.
In the LEO classroom (do not use external systems), participate in a brainstorming and collaboration session to finalize the project scope and determine the elements and format of the WBS.
Step 4: Write the Introduction
Create the introductory paragraph. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper and tells a reader the main points covered in the paper. To help you know how to write an introduction, view this website to learn how to write an introductory paragraph: http://www.writing.ucsb.edu/faculty/donelan/intro.html
Step 5: Generate the Project Scope Statement
Write one paragraph that clearly defines what is in scope.
Write one paragraph that clearly defines what is out of scope.
Step 6: Create the WBS
In the LEO classroom (do not use external systems), participate in a brainstorming and collaboration session to develop a WBS.
Identify at least five (5) major phases. Note: Although five (5) phases is the minimum requirement, the WBS must consist of all the phases and work packages necessary to complete the project.
Identify at least 50 work packages that are required for the project. Associate each work package appropriately with a major phase.
Step 7: Rationale
Provide your rationale for the format selection of your WBS.
Step 8: Review
Review the scope statement WBS to ensure all required elements are present and correct.
What is a Project?
A project is a temporary endeavor that allows for the allocation of an organization’s resources to achieve specific benefits that aligns with the organization’s corporate strategy. Think about the various aspects of this for a moment. Unlike operations, which go on into perpetuity, project work is temporary in nature, with each project having a clear starting point and ending point. Although the timing of that project could be a decade, at some point, the project will end. It helps define the specific resources (budget, human resources) that will be required to complete the project. It sets out to achieve a specific benefit(s). At the beginning of a project, the benefits that the organization hopes to achieve should be clearly expressed, then measured against over the course of the project. The project should end not when any desired work is done, but when those benefits are actually achieved. Finally, every project an organization takes on should be in alignment with the organization’s strategy. Apple for example, likely wouldn’t have a project to build a chain of grocery stores.
Organizational Structure and Culture Impacts on Projects
Organizational culture is the pattern of beliefs and expectations shared by an organization’s members. Culture includes the behavioral norms, customs, shared values, and “rules of the game” for getting along and getting ahead within the organization. It is the “personality” of the organization. It is important for project managers to be “culture sensitive” so that they can develop appropriate strategies and responses and avoid violating key norms that would jeopardize their effectiveness within the organization. The project management structure of the organization and the culture of the organization are major elements of the environment in which a project is initiated. Think about the culture of various companies and how that ‘personality’ influences how projects are selected and executed. For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) may manage projects differently than Google due to organizational culture.
Organizational Management Structure reflects how the business is managed. There are three basic organizational management structures that impact how projects are managed, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice of which approach to utilize depends on the organization itself and the work it performs. Functional hierarchy typically provides more benefit to the organization itself, but poses challenges when managing projects. The most effective project management system appropriately balances the needs of the project with those of the parent organization. On the other end of the spectrum, projectized structures typically emerged when organizations are need to share personnel and resources across numerous projects and operations. The matrix approach can be weak, balanced, or strong and is a hybrid organizational form that combines elements of both the functional and project team forms in an attempt to realize the advantages of both.
This can be a vibrant topic, however, studies have shown projects are completed successfully a greater percentage of the time when managed by way of a strong matrix system. The organization I work for – a consulting firm – manages numerous projects as our bread and butter and utilizes a strong matrix structure, which is typically the best suited for managing projects.
Understand the 5 Project Process Groups and Knowledge Groups
Project management is broken down into five major process groups. These process groups are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling, and Closing a project. Typically, between each process group, your company will perform an internal review to make sure that you are ready to move to the next phase. In this course, we will focus on the first two process groups: 1) Initiating a project – moving it from a concept to a reality through the identification of stakeholder needs and development of the Project Charter; and 2) Planning a project – developing the project schedule and a fully-elaborated Project Plan that the project team can pick up and run with (as they move into Execution).
Each of the ten knowledge areas represents an area of understanding critical for the Project Manager. On smaller projects, the Project Manager will likely be expected to be the expert in each of these areas. However, on larger projects, the Project Manager may employ other staff to support the project that will each own these areas. For example, the Project Manager may manage the project scope and the human resources on the project, but may delegate the day to day maintenance of the project budget or project schedule to his support staff.
Make sure you the project scope, goals, and benefits to achieve are SMART. SMART objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. To determine if objectives are SMART, consider the following guiding questions:
Specific – Does it address a real business problem?
Measurable -Are we able to measure the problem, establish a baseline, and set targets for improvement
Attainable – Is the goal achievable? Is the project completion date realistic?
Relevant – Does it relate to a business objective?
Time Bound – Have we set a date for completion?
Project Initiation versus Project Planning
Project Initiation is the first process group, where the project management identifies project stakeholders and develops the project charter. These two elements are critical to gaining support and getting approval for funding/resources to continue on to formal Project Planning.
Project Planning is the next process group, which you enter into based on your evaluation of stakeholders and on the project charter, both of which you presented to your Project Sponsor. Once approval is provided, the project moves forward to formal planning and additional funding and/or resources are allocated. This allows you to spend a period of time to develop the components that make up a Project Plan (e.g. Scope Management Plan, Project Schedule, Project Budget, Human Resource Management Plan, Communications Management Plan, etc.). Once your Project Plan is approved, you move into Project Execution.
Project Selection: So how do projects move from Project Initiation into Project Planning? Projects are usually selected according to a cost-benefit ranking, unless there is a regulatory requirement or strategic purpose that is driving the initiative. However, even in those circumstances, it is typically customary that PMs will find a way to monetize the benefit of meeting that regulatory requirement or strategy. The driving factor for initiatives is the expected return-on-investment (ROI). However, keep in mind that your project will not be selected without a fully-developed Statement of Work and Project Charter.
Stakeholders are people who are impacted by what your project is attempting to do or who can contribute to (or hinder) the success of your project. Typically, when casting the net on stakeholders it is better to start with a wider pool, then narrow it with guidance from your project sponsor and project team.
Each stakeholder will have different expectations and anticipated benefits from the project. It is important that the PM determines each stakeholder’s business requirements. Once the business requirements are determined for each stakeholder, the PM must assess which business requirements provide the most value to the project overall. At this point, some requirements will be deemed higher priority than others and some may even be dropped from the project.
The Project Charter:
Typically, when initiating a project, you are asked to develop a Project Charter. This initial concept of the project is evaluated during the initiating process group prior to approving resources for formal project planning. Key elements of a project charter are outlined and discussed below. Note: Both are typically high-level detail that usually fit on 1-2 slides or 1-2 pages if in document form.
Project Name and Description – Name the project and describe what you are attempting to do in one to two sentences. Consider including an additional one to two sentences detailing anything that specifically will not be done as part of the project.
Key Stakeholders and Related Business Requirements – Discuss key stakeholders (name, role in the organization) and how the project will impact them. List out any key business requirements received from these stakeholders that you will need to address as part of the project
Expected Project Benefits – Explain why are we doing this project and what will the organization get from doing this project.
Deliverables/Outputs – What are the outputs from the work the project team will do along the way (e.g. a project plan, new policy/process documentation, a functioning website)?
Key Milestones (with due dates) – What are the major chunks of work that have to happen to complete the project? NOTE: These should be sequenced in a logical order
Human Resources – What type of people and skills do we need to get the project done? NOTE: The human resources should contain at least a Project Sponsor, Project Manager, and Project Team Members. For project team members, think in terms of roles (e.g. you would likely need a software developer to build an app).
Estimated Project Cost – What is our estimate of internal man hours required to complete the project? What is the cost we have to pay for external resources, equipment, hardware, etc.? Do the benefits we get from the project exceed the cost of the project?
Timing – On what dates will we start the project? On what date do we estimate that the project will end?
Critical Success Factors and Risks – What are factors that will determine project success? Are there any key risks?
Below is an example of the Project Charter:
Defining the Project Scope
Defining the project’s scope tells you what you are going to do on the project, as well as what you won’t do. Both of these are equally important, as you will build the rest of the project deliverables (e.g. project budget, project schedule) around this definition.
For example, imagine I gave you a project to make a sandwich. Your project scope is to make a ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread with mustard. When putting this together, you decide to throw in lettuce, tomato and a pickle. Notice you gave me more than the scope we agreed to. This is called gold-plating, since you are adding in additional material cost and time to assemble to the project, which may be unacceptable to the customer. However, I also wouldn’t expect you to give me a ham sandwich with no cheese – this would under-deliver on the agreed to project scope, so the customer would again not be satisfied with the result. Finally, I wouldn’t expect a ham sandwich on white bread, since this is different from the scope we agreed to. Each of these outcomes wouldn’t satisfy the customer.
Changing the scope after the project begins should only occur through an approved change management process. This process will ensure that the project team or project manager are not adding in “nice to haves”, “bells and whistles”, or reducing scope without buy-in from the organization/ sponsor/ customer. Usually, these add-ins or reductions start small, but over time they can add up dramatically and affect the budget, schedule, or quality of what is delivered on the project. I have seen some projects where the PM let in so many small changes that it eroded the entire benefit of doing the project in the first place.
Defining the project scope is the first thing a PM does during the Planning process group. Many projects fail when the scope is not well defined or if the PM doesn’t stick to the agreed to scope. Typically, when defining the scope, the customer and the PM work very closely. When determining trade-offs on scope (what is in, what is out), it is important to think about the cost-benefit of any additional work. For example, if it costs $0.50 for the extra lettuce, tomato, and pickle, but I can only charge $0.25 for those additional items, then it isn’t cost effective. Further, if my customer doesn’t want those items to begin with, they may question why I purchased additional materials and labor when it did not add any value. Note: The Project Scope is one element of the Project Charter and is typically used not only to define the scope, but also to authorize the PM to both perform the project work and also fund the project.
Building the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The Work Breakdown Structure is the predecessor to developing a full-fledged Project Schedule. To create a Work Breakdown Structure, you can follow these steps:
First, you need to identify milestones (major chunks of work that need to be performed to complete the project).
Second, you will need to think about each milestone and determine what tasks you will need to perform to complete each milestone.
Once you feel comfortable that you have identified all milestones and tasks, you will need to think about the appropriate sequence in which you will need to perform the tasks
Finally, you will need to determine how long each task will take (each task’s duration)
Later on, as you evolve the WBS to the Project Schedule, you will add in the human resource to perform each task and determine the associated cost to perform each task.
Note: How do you know when you have broken down the work successfully?
The milestones represent the major chunks of work to complete the project (no major chunks are missing)
Each list of tasks, rolling up to a specific milestone, represents everything that you will need to do to complete that milestone
To determine if tasks are broken down sufficiently, I use these two rules of thumb. Can each task be performed by one person only? Is the longest duration of any task less than two weeks?
This may seem pretty simple, but keep in mind that every project is different. Tip: A typical practice to determine the milestones and tasks is to get a core group of people together who are very knowledgeable about the project. Have this group brainstorm and come to agreement on the appropriate milestones, then select a particular milestone and brainstorm out the tasks. I typically use a whiteboard and write out the milestones, then use yellow sticky notes to write out tasks that need to be performed. The great thing about these yellow stickies is that everyone can add in tasks and the tasks can be easily moved around and sequenced.