A standard technique for understanding and controlling the scope of activities on a project is to develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This is a hierarchical structure which breaks the overall task of completing the project down into logical groups of related deliverables and activities. Each activity or deliverable can be broken down into more and more detail. The WBS can be represented using a tree structure, as follows:
Figure 1: WBS Example
In this example, we see the Agape Field Development Project consists of both Offshore and Onshore work. There are two major onshore deliverables; a Loading Terminal and a LNG Plant. Each of these deliverables could then be broken into several more deliverables, until a sufficient level of detail is reached. Generally, it is better to agree upon a fixed depth which all branches in the WBS tree should be broken down to. This creates a consistency within the structure, and makes it easier to create cost reports that are easy to read. Please note that on a real project, the WBS would be several levels deeper than in the example shown.
In Pims, the lowest level in the WBS structure is called the Work Package level. It is at the Work Package level that cost and schedule information is defined in the system. In the above example, we see that the LNG plant consists of three Work Packages. The total cost of the LNG plant will be the sum of the cost of these three Work Packages. This principle carries on all the way up the structure, so that the total cost of the whole project is the sum of all the Work Packages in the project.
The detailed task of managing costs is performed at the Work Package level. For example, planned costs, actual costs, forecasts and progress information are all entered against individual Work Packages. The WBS summarizes all the Work Packages in a logical format, which can be displayed on Cost Reports. In the following section will look at how to enter the WBS structure in to Pims.
The ‘WBS screen’ is available under the ‘Project Control Basis’ section in the Navigator Bar. The screen has three main sections, as shown below:
Figure 2: WBS Form
The ‘WBS List’ shows a simple list of all the levels in the tree, in a similar way to the example provided in the previous section. This list can be used to select an existing level for editing. The empty line at the top of the list can be used for filtering which items are shown. For example you could type ‘EPC’ into the Title box to find all levels containing this phase.
The ‘WBS Level Details’ section is where you can edit the level information. To enter a new level into the structure, press the Add New button at the bottom of the screen. Now enter the level details into the boxes provided. All levels must have a ‘WBS Code’ and ‘Title’. You can optionally add more detailed description into the ‘Description’ box. To save the record, press the Save button at the bottom of the screen.
Three tabs are provided at the bottom of the screen. The ‘Scope’ tab allows you to optionally enter additional information about the scope of work covered by the WBS level. The ‘Work Packages’ tab allows you to view any Work Packages that are linked to the currently selected level. This tab only contains a subset of the information for the work packages. For detailed description of the fields see the next section: Work Packages.
It is possible to add new work packages using this tab. Go to the “New Record” line at the bottom, and fill in at least Work Pack ID, Title, Start Date and Finish Date (if you don’t input Start Date or Finish date, the system will automatically fill in the project’s start and finish date).
Figure 3: Work Packages connected to the selected WBS
On the Attachments and Hyperlinks tab you can optionally store any files, or hyperlinks which are related to the selected level, e.g. estimates, specifications or other documents.
Figure 4: Attachments and Hyperlinks connected to the selected WBS
To upload a file, click on the Upload button and browse for the desired file. To download or open a file, click on the Download button. The Delete is used for deleting files. You will be asked to confirm the action. Adding or modifying hyperlinks is done in the lower grid. The LINK will be the address to the web site or a system that supports hyperlinks.