Breakdown Structures – A Powerful Project Management Documentation Format


Documentation & maintenance of documentation is one of the hardest and important activities in Project Management. Hundreds of plans, mails, progress tracking, change requests, document updates, contract documents, etc are few examples of documentation events in project life cycle. There are three main formats used to represent information in documents.

1. Text format – This is most used format as we are trained to write paragraphs & pages from our childhood.

2. Tabular format – This is used when a matrix or log type of information representation is required i.e. responsibility matrix, risk log.

3. Tree hierarchical format – This type is used to depict whenever parent-child relationship exists between different elements. This is the prevalent type used in all “Breakdown Structures”. If you analyze you can see, basic structures built-in Mind mapping is very much tree hierarchical in nature. That’s why Mind Mapping technique can be used directly into your project documentation.

Project Management Documentation formats

Project Management Documentation formats

Breakdown structures

Breakdown structures are important document formats throughout Project Management Life Cycle. One can see Work BS, Resource BS, Risk BS, Organizational BS used in most of the Project.

Breakdown structures follow the general principle of life –

“What you think as a big & unachievable can be achieved by breaking it down into smaller pieces & successfully finishing all smaller pieces leads to completion of the big”.

I like to give simple and effective example here. You are about to have a big buffet lunch. If you think of eating all in one stretch, then it is surely unachievable. You are finishing that tasty feast by eating one mouth at a time.

In Project Management, Breakdown structures are hierarchical representation of information based on certain broad element at the higher level and detailing it out in the descending levels (This is what you do exactly in Mind Mapping too!). A breakdown structure has nodes that represent some text attached to it that conveys some specific information. Nodes are connected with branches in a parent-child tree structure that follows parent = sum of all children rule.

Few other general design principles applies to breakdown structures like 1) 100% Rule 2) Mutual exclusive elements 3) Level of detail. Here are few commonly used breakdown structures and their explanations.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – The WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) – The resource breakdown structure is a hierarchical representation of resources by category and type.

Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) – A hierarchical representation of the project organization that illustrates the relationship between project activities and the organizational units that will perform those activities.

Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) – A hierarchical representation of risks according to their risk categories.

Monitor & Control Risks – Mind Map


Here is the mind map for sixth & final process of Risk Management knowledge area – “Monitor & Control Risks”. Monitoring and controlling process are like sanity check processes – there is no exact time frame for these processes and they should be active throughout the project.

I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

(Note: Click on the image to get full view)

Monitor&Control Risks

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

We’ve never done it that way before…


When I asked my visitors about widely used Risk Identification Technique in their organization(https://leadershipchamps.wordpress.com/my-polls/), majority of them voted for ‘Brainstorming’. No wonder why they chose that. Brain is a piece of flesh that has the power to create a new galaxy or destroy it! Ideas from such a wonderful brain is the main investment for businesses.

Brain is such a great body part which can be compared to many things like super computer, storage media, super search engine, movie camera, etc. But it is much more than that. Experience, thinking & ideas are key outputs that led to several inventions & revolutions. Brainstorming is very important for an individual, community or an organization to produce desired results.

image

Here is the reality of brainstorming in day to day business. It is common in IT industry, brainstorming carried out by a group of closed minded peoples who come up with the mind set to say ‘No’ to new ideas. Some may not deny directly but they use all phrases (like the one mentioned in blog topic) that rejects the idea in a round about way.

In one meeting, Manager started a brainstorming with the final decision in mind – he presented the scenario, he told the solution and asked every one whether they agree. That’s all! Here brainstorm loses its actual meaning.

To have an effective brainstorming –

1. Attendees (including chair person) should have open mind for any ideas that comes up

2. Leader should present scenario ask for ideas

3. Small or big – an idea is an idea. Don’t reject! Even an idea considered as simple one should be validated

4. Brainstorming should bring all options out – Leave no stones unturned

5. Using Mind Maps is one of the greatest way to do Brainstorming. Mind Maps brings focus, clarity in thinking, grouping of common items under different categories & breaks linear thinking pattern, which produces great choices.

Start with a question & bring out all options,

discuss number of ways to handle the situation,

document them,

choose best idea,

rank it & rate it,

adapt best suited solution at that given point of time that satisfies all constraints.

Plan Risk Responses – Mind Map


Here is the mind map for fourth process of Risk Management knowledge area – “Plan Risk Responses”. I wrote lot of risk management articles in this blog which are input to this post.

I tried putting as much information as possible in each branch in this process map to bring out completeness to it. Hope this will be useful to you.

(Note: Click on the image to get full view)

 Plan  Risk Responses

 

For detailed information about each response strategies please go through my earlier post Risk Response Planning Strategies

Other Risk Management Articles in this blog – https://leadershipchamps.wordpress.com/category/risk-management/

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis – Mind Map


Here is the mind map for fourth process of Risk Management knowledge area – “Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis”. I tried putting as much information as possible in each process map to bring out completeness to each of them. Hope this will be useful to you. This also placed under Planning Process Group.

(Note: Click on the image to get full view)

Perform Quantitative  Risk Analysis

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis – Mind Map


Here is the mind map for third process of Risk Management knowledge area – “Qualitative Risk Analysis”. I tried putting as much information as possible in each process map to bring out completeness to each of them. Hope this will be useful to you. This also placed under Planning Process Group.

(Note: Click on the image to get full view)

Perform Qualitative  Risk Analysis

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.

Identify Risks – Mind Map


Here is the mind map for second process of Risk Management knowledge area – “Identify Risks”. This also placed under Planning Process Group.

(Note: Click on the image to get full view)

 Identify  Risks

 

Important Note:

* Note# 1: There could be some typo or presentation errors. Please reply back for any corrections.

* Note# 2: You can use this for personal use (like studying for PMP Exam or PM activities). But don’t share this in common forum or web sites. As this one is part of my training guide and project management book.