Projects are about getting things done. You write or are given a project work plan. A wonderful piece of paper or a document on a shiny looking screen. And then the question “what on Earth I do now and where do I start?” spoils the scenery. It was my first reaction back in time. I’ve noticed the look on the face of new project managers when they start the journey.
Luckily, it is not a new challenge and history helps. Romans knew a thing or two about getting what they wanted. Remember “Divide Et Impera”? So, go ahead and break the wonderful work plan into pieces. Cut it with a scissor, if necessary.
Look at your big headings. Think small. Write it down. Think even smaller. Write it down. Repeat until your eye for detail is happy. It is called “Work Breakdown Structure” (or known as WBS), one of my favourite project management tools. It satisfies my need for details in projects. It is a cure to the overwelming feeling in complex projects. It deserves a better name though.
Tips for and steps for creating a work breakdown structure are available on internet and in project management books. Some are included here:
a. Create a list of major activities or deliverables.
b. Arrange them in order.
c. Break down each of the major activities to several smaller tasks.
d. Continue the decomposition till you find set of non-redundant deliverables and the smallest level tasks can be assigned to an individual.
It can be in any format you want: word, excel, post it-s on a wall. You can do it by yourself or with the project team. I like to add timelines and a budget column and use colour.
So go ahead, divide and rule!