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Work breakdown structure

Managing work breakdown in Exact PSA

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

In the previous article we discussed the basics of managing scope using deliverables and looked at the simple project scenario. In that scenario a project manager used Exact PSA to create a set of deliverables to define the scope of his project to implement Synergy Enterprise at a customer site.

This allowed the project manager to see what needs to be delivered on the project; however, he is also interested in how much time and money it will take to deliver it. In Exact PSA he can define tasks (or, in other words, activities) that need to be carried out in order to build a certain deliverable.

Let’s take another look at our example. The project manager wants to add more implementation details to the deliverable Requirements analysis. He conjures the following list of activities, and enters them one by one:

What does he see after completing this exercise?

  • that he has estimated that 36 hours (32 hours of consultancy and 4 hours of project management) are needed to complete Requirements analysis;
  • that the cost and the sales price per hour for each activity are calculated according to the rate rules in Exact PSA;
  • the total cost and the total sales price of the whole deliverable are clear to him.

After having done exactly the same for every deliverable in the project, he will arrive at a complete work breakdown structure (or simply WBS) for the project, that will:

  • give him confidence that every single activity that needs to be done on the project is captured in the system and is linked to a correct deliverable (based on the scope that he has defined);
  • provide him with the project schedule, where each deliverable and each activity is plotted against a time range;
  • let him see the total cost and total sales price of the whole project (based on the applicable rates, but not including any personal rates);
  • allow him to share this calculation with the sales in order to create a final calculation for the customer, or to validate the original quotation.

In essence, that means a firm grasp of all estimated work on the project and its financials — something that a project manager is responsible for.

There are two additional features of Exact PSA that make work breakdown structures particularly convenient:

  1. It is possible to list not only activities for each deliverable, but also material, in case goods are procured and shipped to the customer. In our example (as shown in the previous article), a deliverable Hardware installation might include some equipment that will be billed to the customer together with installation hours.
  2. It is possible to plan hours directly from a WBS line, and, starting from release 249/404 it is possible to allocate material in the same way.

And last, in the release 249/404 the project manager will be able to see directly from a WBS line what hour planning or material & expenses requests are linked to it, that will give him insight into progress of the project. We will review these grand possibilities in the next article of the series.

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