Project Management Institute Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures Review

Project Management Institute Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures
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If you just read Chapter 4 (pages 11-18, that's 8 pages) of this book, you can glean the essence of this entire 80 page book. This chapter contains valuable details relating to creating a WBS. This chapter explains the process of coming up with a WBS for your project. This information is not availabe at this level of detail in many other books. And more importantly, these details came out after an extensive effort by PMI (this effort is described in Appendix A-D). No project manager can afford to do work without being familiar with the information in this book. The first three chapters are short and serve as an introduction to what a WBS is and it's value on any project. If you are a PMP, you already know this information and you can gloss over these chapters. If you are new to project management, these first three chapters are as valuable as the fourth chapter because they lay the foundation for understanding how to do a WBS.
Appendix E-O outline sample WBS for different industries. I am familiar with the Web Design and Software Development fields and I can definitely say that these are too basic to be of any use unless you are a new project manager in these fields. I cannot speak to the value of the sample WBS for other industries but I am guessing you would probably have access to better sample WBS in your own company. There are vendors like IIL (International Institute of Learning) selling better templates of these WBS in the form of project schedules for various industries. It may be worthwhile looking in that direction if you are trying to collect these.
The whole book is a free Acrobat download from PMI if you are a member. The print function on this download is disabled though so if you want a copy for your desk collection, you have to buy this print edition.
As a final note, this is a very valuable contribution from PMI. I have visited too many clients where project schedules are glorified 'task lists' derived from wishful thinking. These then get put on a calendar and the client is satisfied that they have a 'project plan'. I had always wished that somebody had already educated the clients on the importance of a deliverable driven approach to project planning (WBS serves this function). As a project manager working for a consulting company, it becomes your job to do this. I plan on using this book as a baseline to achieve this purpose (hand out a copy to the client and take it from there). This book is simple enough that I believe it would accomplish the purpose.
So, at the very least, download the electronic copy and buy this print edition when you get a chance. I hope you found the information in this review helpful. And more importantly, I hope you find the information in the book even more helpful (as I did). Good luck!

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Product Description:
This is the first practice standard that the ProjectManagement Institute (PMI®) has developed to complement and elaborateon the information contained in its de facto global standard for theprofession, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge(PMBOK® Guide) - 2000 Edition. It provides guidance and universalprinciples for the initial generation, subsequent development, andapplication of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Successful projectmanagement uses planning techniques to define the project objectivesin sufficient detail to support effective management of theproject. The WBS provides the foundation for defining work as itrelates to project objectives and establishes the structure formanaging the work to its completion. Each descending level of a WBSrepresents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.
This PMI standard provides an introduction to the WBS concept, definesthe WBS and its characteristics, discusses the benefits of using aWBS, and demonstrates how to build a WBS and determine if it issufficient for subsequent planning and control. A unique feature ofthis handbook is the inclusion of 11 industry-specific WBSexamples. Constituting over half of the book, these examples aid thereader in further understanding, creating, and using WBSs in thefollowing industries or applications:
-Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical (OGP)
-Environmental Management
-Process Improvement
-Process Plant Construction
-Service Industry Outsourcing
-Web Design
-Refinery Turnaround
-Government Design-Bid-Build
-Software Implementation
Examples are in different stages of completion and represent theevolutionary development of a WBS. None of the examples should betaken as the only right WBS for that type of project. This is thefirst-of-its-kind Practice Standard from the world's largestprofessional association for project management. It will enableproject managers, project team leaders, contract personnel, and othersinterested in managing any aspect of a project to prepare a useful andhigh quality Work Breakdown Structure.

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