Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

19.2.2 Project Phase, Project Life Cycle, and Work Breakdown Structure

Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the project phases in a generic project life cycle. Describe the increasing degree of detail of tasks and work packages in a work breakdown structure. Present an excerpt from a work breakdown structure for the preliminary study for a building conversion.



Deliverables are produced at the end of a project but also as the result of individual phases within the project.

A project phase is a major part of a project. Collectively, the project phases are called the project life cycle.

Figure 19.2.2.1 shows the project phases in a sample generic project life cycle. See here [PMBOKD or PBMOK, Section 2.1].

Fig. 19.2.2.1       Project phases in a generic project life cycle (Source: PMBOK).

The intermediate phases will differ depending on the type of project. For example, if the goal is realization of a system, the different life cycle phases shown in Figure 19.1.0.1, from preliminary study to establishment of the system, can be seen as system development. Figure 19.1.4.1 showed the life cycle phases of a project in software development. Possible life cycle phases of classical product design are concept development, product planning, process planning, building prototypes, pilot production, and ramp up.

The product life cycle in Figure 1.1.3.1 can be accompanied by several project life cycles. An initial project handles product design and a fur­ther project the development of services, that is, additional services con­nected with the product. Another project can aim at further development.

In project management, a program is a group of related projects. The term is then synonymous with a project, mostly a large project.

An example of a program is the NASA Space Shuttle program. The project itself is subdivided into smaller units.

A (project) task is a subset of a project, having a duration of a number of months, for example, and carried out by a certain group or organization. A task can also be subdivided into a number of subtasks.

A work package is a set of activities assigned to the manager of a component of the project and, if possible, also to an organizational unit. Work packages are deliverables, defined in as much detail as possible, at the lowest level of the Work Breakdown Structure. A work package has a cost budget, scheduled start date, scheduled finish date, and project milestones, that is, the specific events in the project — usually completion of major deliverables.

Whenever possible, a project should begin with a statement of work.

A statement of work is the “first project planning document that should be prepared. It describes the purpose, history, deliverables, and measurable success indicators for a project. It captures the support required from the customer and identifies contingency plans for events that could throw the project off course” ([APIC16]).

The statement of work thus serves management as the basis for decision making. The logical relationships of a project, that is, the tasks and work packages, are called the work breakdown structure.

Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical description of tasks and work packages of a project, whereby “each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of a project component” [PMBOK].

Figure 19.2.2.2 shows a formal representation of a WBS.[note 1902]

Fig. 19.2.2.2       Increasing degree of detail in a work breakdown structure.

This representation corresponds to the product structure (bill of material) in Figure 1.2.2.2, or more precisely, a convergent product structure, or tree structure. In the place of manufacturing components, the work breakdown structure in Figure 19.2.2.2 has tasks or work packages, which are processes. Figure 19.2.2.3 shows a Work Breakdown Structure for a part of a sample project, here the preliminary study for the conversion of a building.

Fig. 19.2.2.3       Excerpt from a work breakdown structure for the preliminary study for a building conversion.

This representation corresponds to the multilevel bill of material in Fig. 17.2.3.4. Again, in­-stead of components, there are tasks and work packages. Instead of item IDs, there are task and work package IDs; in the example in Figure 19.2.2.3, it is a lexicographical numbering.

With a view to project scheduling and rapid project completion, it is advantageous when tasks and work packages are defined such that as many as possible can run concurrently. In addition, they should be allocated the necessary resources, and there should be measurable indicators for success of the tasks and packages.



Course section 19.2: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes

  • 19.2 Project Management

    Intended learning outcomes: Present goals and constraints of a project. Describe project phase, project life cycle, and work breakdown structure. Explain scheduling and effort planning as well as organization of a project. Differentiate between cost, benefits, profitability, and risk of a project.

  • 19.2.1 Goals and Constraints of a Project

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on project performance and project deliverables. Differentiate between external constraints and internal constraints in project management.

  • 19.2.2 Project Phase, Project Life Cycle, and Work Breakdown Structure

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the project phases in a generic project life cycle. Describe the increasing degree of detail of tasks and work packages in a work breakdown structure. Present an excerpt from a work breakdown structure for the preliminary study for a building conversion.

  • 19.2.3 Project Scheduling and Project Effort Planning

    Intended learning outcomes: Present in detail the schematic display of project effort per organizational unit. Explain an excerpt of the Gantt chart for the project “preliminary study for building conversion”.

  • 19.2.4 Project Organization

    Intended learning outcomes: Differentiate between project coordination in a functional, or line, organization and project management in a project-based organization. Describe project management in a strong matrix organization.

  • 19.2.5 Project Cost, Project Benefits, Project Profitability, and Project Risk

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the total cost of ownership of a project. Explain the Matrix for estimating the project benefit of an investment in a software system as well as the graphic representation in overlay of nine profitability calculations, for cumulative benefits with degrees of realization 1 to 9. Identify NPV, the net present value technique. Present the issue of project risk management.