Project Planning and Work Breakdown Structure

Explain in details the following: Project planning and how elements and preliminaries of project planning help project manager to plan properly to help him completing the project on time without any delay by using project resource scheduling and time estimation

Project planning is a very critical stage in the project management process. Anderson (2008) defines project planning as “A discipline for stating how to complete a project within a certain timeframe, usually with defined stages, and with designated resources” (78). It involves developing a blueprint that will be followed to ensure that a given project is accomplished within a given timeline. The plan helps in determining what to expect once the project commences, resources needed, and some of the project risks that must be dealt with to achieve desired success. It is important to understand how elements and preliminaries of project planning can help a project manager.

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The first element of project planning, which is very important, is the aim of the project. Defining the aims of the project helps project members to understand the specific target that should be achieved. They will remain focused on the goals of the project. This will help the project manager to easily steer them towards success. The output of a project must be clearly defined. Project members must be fully informed of the output that is expected from the project.

Another important element is the quality criteria. A project must have clear quality criteria that would define the standards of products. Setting this quality criterion will help the production unit understand the value that is expected of each of their products. The process eliminates cases where substandard products are produced because it may affect the overall satisfaction of this group. The resources of the project are important elements that must be given a lot of consideration at the planning stages. Project resources include the time that is available for the project, financial or material resources, and human resources.

All three categories of resources must be balanced in order to ensure that the project is completed in time. For instance, when a project has a limited time, it may be necessary to increase the finances of such projects in order to enable the manager to hire more people to compensate for the deficit of time. The management structure is also another element of project planning that should be given serious consideration.

The management unit offers leadership to all other project members. The management structure should be that which is conscious of the objectives of the project and the specific needs and capacities of individual project members. It may be necessary to define some of the tolerances which may be necessary during the project implementation process. Although this is always ignored in many projects, it is necessary for the project management to define when it may be appropriate to tolerate some external environmental issues, especially when they are beyond the control of the project management.

It would also be important to define the risks. According to Nagarajan (2005), some projects failed because the management did not take time to understand some of the risks that they would face. No single project can run without some risks that may pose serious challenges towards its success. These risks should always be identified and measures developed so that they can be mitigated easily in case of their occurrences. Finally, it would be necessary to define the project schedule. The project management must define how the available time will be allocated to different activities within the project to achieve success.

Explain in details the followings: The Benefits of work break down structure and Project organization structure and the benefits of work packages

Work breakdown and project organization structures are very important when defining a given project. Anderson (2008) defines work breakdown structure as “A tool used to define and group a project’s discrete work elements in a way that helps one to organize and define the total work scope of the project” (73). It is important in defining various tasks that are to be undertaken in a given project and specific individuals who will be responsible for undertaking various tasks.

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One of the most important benefits of a work breakdown structure is that it helps in defining the tasks within a project and how they are supposed to be accomplished. This way, it becomes possible to determine the scope of the project in terms of specific tasks that are to be accomplished within a given period of time (Anderson, 2008). Project scheduling and estimations always depend on the work breakdown structure. It also helps to avoid task overlaps. In cases where there is no clear work breakdown structure, it is possible to assign different project members a similar task leading to the overlapping of some activities.

According to Hamilton (2004), work breakdown structure helps in avoiding cases where some tasks are not assigned to specific project members. Using McGregor’s Theory X, this scholar says that there are cases where some employees may try to avoid tasks when the working environment allows them to do so. In order to avoid such cases, a work breakdown structure specifies tasks that are to be accomplished by each of the project departments. It would be the responsibility of such a department to ensure that it does everything to ensure that it achieves success in the tasks assigned to it.

The project organization structure is another aspect of project management that is very vital in defining the success of a project. According to Nagarajan (2005), the success of a project always depends on its organizational structure. The structure should clearly define the leadership of the project and all other stakeholders that are directly or indirectly involved in the project. The project organization structure helps in defining how different stakeholders would relate to the project.

Defining this relationship is necessary for avoiding any misunderstanding that may exist among the stakeholders. Each stakeholder will understand his or her role within the project. It also enhances the coordination of tasks. When project members clearly understand their role, it would be easy to make them appreciate the need to coordinate with other project members within their department so that they can work as a team. The structure identifies these teams, making it easy to budget for each of them.

According to Anderson (2008), implementing various decisions from the financiers or project owners can be very challenging if there is no clear project organization structure. It is important to ensure that the project has a clear organizational structure that specifies the roles of different stakeholders. For instance, project financiers are members of the project at the policymaking level. At the implementation stage, their role changes to that of a supervisor. They cannot turn around to be implementers because they may not be able to act as effective supervisors. This means that within this structure, each of the departments and every project member must understand their roles within the project and how they shall be executed (Nagarajan, 2005).

References

Anderson, D. R. (2008). An introduction to management science: Quantitative approaches to decision making. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.

Hamilton, A. (2004). Handbook of Project Management Procedures. New York: TTL Publishing.

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Nagarajan, K. (2005). Project management. New Delhi: New Age International.

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