Framework: An Integrated Approach to Portfolio, Program and Project
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III. PROJECT CONTROL PROCESS - CHAPTER 7 - PROJECT CONTROL PLANNING
7.1 Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
The project scope and execution strategy development process translates the project implementation basis (i.e., asset scope, objectives, constraints, and assumptions) into controllable project scope definition and an execution strategy. The project scope defines what the work is (i.e., the work that must be performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions). The execution strategy establishes criteria for how the work will be implemented (i.e., the general approaches through which the work will be performed).
Project scope and execution strategy development provides the basis for the integrated project control planning process, which also encompasses schedule planning and development, cost estimating and budgeting, resource planning, value analysis and engineering, risk management, and procurement planning (i.e., the other sections of Chapter 7).
Project scope and execution strategy development is preceded by the project implementation process in which a project leadership team is established and the project implementation basis is developed. Project control planning is typically a phased process in which the project implementation process (see Section 4.1) is revisited to obtain incremental authorization and funding at the completion of each phase. The primary outputs of the project scope and execution strategy development process include a defined and documented work breakdown structure (WBS), work packages, and execution strategy. During the project, these outputs are updated as needed to address phased development and changes resulting from the project change management process (see Section 10.3).
The project scope and execution strategy development process is also applied in asset planning (see Section 3.2) where it is used to develop the scope of potential alternative asset solutions. However, for asset planning, the work to deliver the asset is only defined to the level needed to support the feasibility analysis (i.e., the first level or two of a WBS).
7.1.2 Process Map for Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
Figure 7.1-1 illustrates the process map for project scope and execution plan development. The simplicity of the process map belies its importance as this process sets the stage for all the other project control planning processes. The process map illustrates a single phase; however, the process is repeated as the project scope and execution strategy are progressively elaborated. Also, the double headed arrows indicate a fair amount of concurrent development that is likely to take place in actual practice.
Figure 7.1-1 Process Map for Project Scope and Execution Strategy
The following sections briefly describe the steps in the project scope and work breakdown development process.
.1 Plan Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
The work and resources required to perform the project scope and execution strategy development process need to be planned. These plans must consider the plans for the other project control planning processes (Sections 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7) as well. These plans must consider that project control planning is typically a phased process in which the project implementation process is revisited to obtain incremental authorization and funding at the completion of each phase.
In the initial phase, a project team is formed and identifies specific asset alternatives that they consider most likely to deliver the general asset scope while achieving the projects objectives within the constraints established by the project implementation basis. The team then defines the conceptual project scope and execution strategy for each alternative using the process covered in this Section. Based on this, the team develops conceptual plans (i.e., estimates and schedules) to the extent needed to reliably analyze and recommend a best alternative project scope (see Sections 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7). As the initial phase, this conceptual planning work is likely the only work that was authorized and funded by the project implementation process. The project team then documents the conceptual planning work done in this phase (see Section 8.1) and requests that the leadership team authorize additional funds and resources so the project team can perform the next phase of scope development work (see Section 4.1). In the final phase, the project team finishes defining the project scope of the selected alternative such that baseline project control plans for execution of the remaining project scope can be developed.
For example, consider a case in which project leadership requires, as documented in the project implementation basis, that by a certain milestone date, the project team deliver a warehouse facility with capacity to store 30 days supply of a particular product within one days delivery to anywhere in a given market region. The project team then identifies two alternatives: remodeling an already owned existing warehouse or building a new one. The project scopes of the alternatives are then defined, including the building area (with layout sketches), conditions of the existing facilities and new sites (based on site assessments), transportation, permit and tax situations, and so on. The team then prepares conceptual estimates and schedules for each alternative, and, based on economic cost evaluations, the new building at a given location is recommended for further scope development. The project leadership then reviews the project scope definition status and deliverables, and authorizes the project team to proceed with further project scope and execution strategy development and project planning for the selected alternative.
.2 Break Down Scope (Decomposition) and Develop WBS
During project scope development, creative personnel (depending on the industry, they may be architects, engineers, systems analysts, etc.), under project leadership, translate the asset scope (the ultimate deliverable or product of the project) into component deliverables (intermediate products required to effect the asset scope). These component deliverables may include sketches, diagrams, layout drawings, system architecture, equipment lists, specifications, and so on. These deliverables physically describe the new or modified asset as an entirety that will result from the project; however, not in a way that supports planning and controlling the work (i.e., the effort) to create or modify the asset. For planning, the physical description as defined by various component deliverables must be translated into another deliverable called the "work breakdown structure" (WBS). The translation process, called decomposition, breaks down the entirety of the asset physical scope into discrete components for which work can be planned and controlled effectively. The premise of the WBS is that work is not performed on the entirety of the asset, but piece-by-piece, eventually, and cumulatively resulting in a whole asset.
For example, the warehouse facility from the previous case is broken down into site, foundation, superstructure, wall cladding, electrical and other mechanical systems, and other physical components. These components are still not manageable pieces, so the foundation is further broken down into such pieces that in this case include grade walls and concrete spread footers. This breakdown, when organized in a logical hierarchical manner such as illustrated by the warehouse-foundation-footer example, is called the WBS. Once the WBS is developed, estimators can determine the cost and resources needed for each lower tier item in the WBS (Section 7.3), and planners or schedulers can determine the specific work activities, and activity sequencing, needed to build or execute these items (see Section 7.2). Project control is most effective when each planning process (i.e., estimating, planning and scheduling, etc.) is based on and integrated by a common WBS.
Sometimes a project is part of a program or set of related projects. A program can be viewed as the top level on the WBS with the next level including the projects within the program. The basic project control concepts apply to a program with the added complication of integrating its projects.
Scope breakdown and WBS development are team efforts. The team generally includes the project manager or leader, project control personnel (e.g., planners, schedulers, estimators, etc.), and creative, technical, and execution personnel (e.g., engineers, construction managers, etc.). While project managers lead the process with close support from planners, there is generally no one specialist whose primary role is scope breakdown development.
.3 Break Down Organization and Develop Execution Strategy
As was mentioned, the basis for project control planning includes not only defining what the work is, but establishing the general approaches for how the work will be performed. The project implementation process (see Section 4.1) provides the asset scope, objectives, constraints, and assumptions basis for the project as well as authorizing funds and resources. WBS development is focused on further defining the asset scope in consideration of project objectives. Organizational breakdown and execution strategy development then are focused on further translating the constraints, assumptions, and resource provisions into general approaches for how the work will be performed, and by whom, in consideration of the projects objectives and the WBS.
The execution strategy is a general plan (or set of plans) that defines a framework for how the defined work will be implemented. The strategy does not define activities (see Section 7.2) and it is not a baseline control plan; it defines the general approaches through which activities will be performed. For example, using the warehouse facility case, the execution strategy developed for the new warehouse may require that design-build contracting be used, but the owner will procure the loading and material handling equipment. As with the physical scope, the execution strategy is refined as project control planning progresses.
The execution strategy is established in conjunction with developing the organizational responsibility for the project scope. This is because the execution strategy typically includes the contracting strategy, which influences the project organization. In some cases, the execution strategy may also include plans for modularization (e.g., components of project scope aggregated into a single deliverable) or other approaches to the work that might influence the WBS.
Similar to the WBS, organizational responsibilities can be broken down in a logical, hierarchical manner resulting in an organization breakdown structure (OBS). For example, the warehouse project team may be broken down into owner project management and procurement, contractor engineering, and subcontractor construction organizations. Furthermore, the contractor engineering organization may include disciplines such as civil, mechanical, and electrical.
As with project scope development, organizational breakdown and execution strategy development is a team effort. However, for these steps, there is an emphasis on input from those who will manage the execution (e.g., engineering and construction managers) and/or those who will require and acquire resources and services (e.g., procurement and contracting managers).
.4 Develop Work Packages
As shown in Figure 7.1-2., the WBS and OBS can then be integrated via a matrix such that the intersection of each WBS component with an OBS component comprises a work package that can be effectively planned and managed. A work package is a deliverable at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure for which both the work scope and responsibility are defined. Schedule planning and development (see Section 7.2) later identifies activities required to accomplish the work package.
Figure 7.1-2 Example of the WBS, OBS, and Work Package Concept
.5 Review and Documentation
Upon completion of the project scope development phase, the WBS structure, work packages, and execution strategy are reviewed by the project team to determine whether they are complete and suitable as a basis for project control planning (see Sections 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7), and whether they are in alignment with the project implementation basis.
Project scope and execution strategy development and the review of its outputs are facilitated by having a database of historical WBSs, OBSs, and execution strategies as references (see Section 10.4).
.6 Develop and Maintain Methods and Tools
The enterprise may chose to standardize WBS and OBS development. In particular, basic OBS components (e.g., civil engineering) are often predetermined for the enterprise and are reflected in standard organization structure. Standard WBS templates may be developed for repetitive types of projects (or components of them).
7.1.3 Inputs to Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
.1 Project Implementation Basis. The project implementation process (see Section 4.1) provides the asset scope, objectives, constraints, and assumptions basis for the project, as well as authorizing funds and resources.
.2 Asset Alternatives. The asset planning process (see Section 3.2) identifies the asset scope of alternatives for feasibility analysis.
.3 Change Information. During project execution, changes to the project planning basis may be identified in the change management process (see Section 10.3).
.4 Defining Deliverables. These component deliverables physically describe the new or modified asset that will result from the project (i.e., intermediate products required to effect the asset scope).
.5 Historical Project Information. Successful past project WBSs and execution strategies are useful as references for development and review (see Section 10.4).
.6 Planning Process Plans. Project control planning includes a set of integrated processes (Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7). Plans for conducting each process must consider the others as appropriate to the phase of development.
7.1.4 Outputs from Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
.1 Basis for Planning. The WBS, work packages, and execution strategy provide a common framework of the project work to be incorporated into project control baseline plans (i.e., cost control budgets, schedules, etc).
.2 Basis for Asset Planning. When the process is applied in asset planning (see Section 3.2), the work and execution strategy to deliver the asset is only defined to the level needed to support feasibility analysis (i.e., the first level or two of a WBS).
7.1.5 Key Concepts for Project Scope and Execution Strategy Development
The following concepts and terminology described in this and other chapters are particularly important to understanding the scope development process of TCM:
.1 Project Scope. (i.e., scope of work). (See Section 7.1.1).
.2 Project Scope Breakdown (Decomposition). (See Section 220.127.116.11).
.3 Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). (See Section 18.104.22.168).
.4 Program. (See Section 22.214.171.124).
.5 Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). (See Section 126.96.36.199).
.6 Work Package. (See Section 188.8.131.52).
.7 Execution Strategy. (See Section 184.108.40.206).
Further Readings and Sources
There are many references describing project scope and execution strategy development and related practices for various project types in various industries. The topic is generally covered in project management, project control, and project planning and scheduling texts. The following references provide basic information and will lead to more detailed treatments
Amos, Scott J., Editor. Skills and Knowledge of Cost Engineering, 5th ed. Morgantown, WV: AACE International, 2004.
Gransberg, Douglas D. and Keith Molenaar, Editors. Professional Practice Guide (PPG) #10: Project Delivery Methods. CD ROM. Morgantown, WV: AACE International, 2001.
Haugen, Gregory T. Effective Work Breakdown Structures. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts, Inc., 2001.
Project Management Institute. Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures. Upper Darby, PA: Project Management Institute, 2002.
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