No matter how well the PM plans out their project, in most situations, things will not go exactly as planned. The entire project team must take the time to develop the plan, and this task should not simply be left up to the project manager. What this ensures is that the experience of the entire team should always be considered, and each person must be committed and feel as though they have an ownership in the project.
Having said that, one thing that good project teams should always consider developing is a WBS, or Work Breakdown Structure. The WBS must be comprised of a number of different things, and each plays a critical role in the success of the project.
A good WBS will include a roadmap, which ensures everyone on the team will be capable of reaching specific milestones. While a timescale must always be included, it is also necessary to make sure the timescale is realistic. Resource requirements are needed for any project, and the WBS should detail these. It is also very important that a validation be made for the estimated costs of the project. When task slippage occurs, there should be a way of identifying this, and if problems occur, it is absolutely essential that a method be available for identifying them early.
Those who have worked with previous projects would be wise to include this past experience in their newer projects. While this doesn’t mean that "everything" on the new project should be based on the performance of past projects, the projects completed in the past can always be used so that any mistakes that occurred in them can be avoided with the new projects.
There is a lot of historical information that can be taken from older projects, and some of this data includes the amount of time it took for the project to be completed, the total cost of the project, the areas of the project which were successful, and the areas which were considered a failure.
Making the decision to operate a project without a WBS is a big mistake. It can be likened to trying to travel to a specific destination, but doing so without a map or directions. As you can see, trying to do this would lead to failure, and you would be very unlikely to ever reach your destination.
As the old saying goes: when you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. The first thing the PM will want to do is get the team together for a meeting where they can brainstorm the project. This brainstorming process should include all the tasks of the project, including any sub-tasks.
Everyone should have notepads so that important ideas and goals can be written down, and it is also a good idea to put important notes and ideas on a sticky note, and put them on the surface of white boards. Once each individual has taken the time to think of all the project tasks, you can begin altering the sticky notes until the tasks are structured in a manner which is organized. This is essentially the hallmark of the WBS.
The goal of the WBS is to break the project down into steps. The next important part of the WBS is the logic network. This is responsible for showcasing a collection of activities that will occur in the project over time.
The Logic Network
The logic network is essentially a time chart, and it shows the activities that come before other activities. The chart will typically start at the left, and will end at the right. You can put the sticky notes on the board so that they are arranged in this manner.
It is always important to make sure the sticky notes are structured in a manner which is logical. It is also necessary to join the notes in a manner in which the arrows point both out and in, and others may have many arrows. The lines which connect on the network should enter in at the left side. One the logic network is created, you can understand the many aspects of the product.