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.

Time Management – My View Point on its evolution & Benefits

Following are my statements about time & these understanding I got after I properly assimilated all observations of nature

1. Time is result of a natural process – one revolution of earth is one day, so on..etc. Man has just found a way to streamline his activities to maximize the utilization of day time.

2. From day one, human is fighting with the time in proving his superiority over other creatures

3. After that, human started racing against his old records and beat each record at least by 1 second (or even nanosecond) & show to the world he becomes better and better over a period

Now time management becomes integral part of life which requires specific skills to be developed to compete with other people in the world. Better time management leads

i) greater success ratio in career & personal life

ii) allows one to achieve more

iii) increase efficiency & effectiveness of an activity

Current researches relates every particle in the universe to ‘Time’ in one or the other way. Either approachability, rotation, size, etc are compared in terms of time. So humans are no exception for this.

Mind build time sense by nature. My mind sets time for each activity & keeps on calculating lapsed time, remaining time, over time, in different angles based on critical nature of the task. Sense of urgency – increases my heart beat, makes me think faster than light, make me work faster than usual.

World is like a race ground – all are running. One who completes faster gets appreciation, praise, monetary benefits. The one runs slow gets blame, scold, no monetary benefits. Race is by nature. You cannot stop it or take rest. You have to run or at least walk to beat someone who walks slower than you, otherwise it is not possible for you to survive. Life is counted as number of years, days, hours, minutes you lived. Unless you develop time sense in you, it is very difficult to cope up with expectations.

Practice makes a man perfect – this statement is 100% true for time management. Time management requires practice in every aspect. So, how do I practice? Start in small steps.

1. Increase your daily active life at least 10 – 15 mins by waking up earlier than the time you wake up daily.

2. Don’t be lenient on holidays. Wake up same time on Sunday too.

3. Follow a cyclic process – Set time goals, observe & take corrective actions for future.

4. Prioritize as much as possible. Force your prioritizing to broader level. Don’t just put all of them in 1,2,3 levels. Have unique level for each of them. If you have 20 activities in hand, have 20 priority levels. This gives unambiguous execution order. But do remember #3, and modify the priority levels based on current situations.

5. Have good mental health – everyday perform activity that gives you happiness at least for 10 minutes like talking to your parents, spouse, watching comedy videos, reading books that you felt close to your heart, washing your car, cleaning home, playing with your kids or pets.

Plan Procurement Management – Types of Contracts – Mind Map

Procurement management is one of the toughest Knowledge Area for a Product Development Manager like me. This is due to the fact that I don’t deal with contracts so often. I tried reading lot of material & went through many articles regarding contractual agreements before I can really understand it some extent. In this Mind Map, I put general information about commonly used contract types.

Contract Types

Contract Types

I hope this will help you in preparing your PMP exams.