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    Here is the tree structures of a metro line project: PBS, ABS and ZBS.

    Product Breakdown Structure

    Activity Breakdown Structure

    Zone Breakdown Structure

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    Here is the tree structures of a Fertilizer treatment plant project: PBS, ABS and ZBS.

    Product Breakdown Structure

    Activity Breakdown Structure

    Zone Breakdown Structure

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    Here is the tree structures of a hydroelectric power plant project: PBS, ABS and ZBS.

    System Breakdown Structure

    Product Breakdown Structure

    Activity Breakdown Structure

    Zone Breakdown Structure

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    Here is the tree structures of a light railway project: PBS, ABS and ZBS.

    Product Breakdown Structure

    Activity Breakdown Structure

    Zone Breakdown Structure

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    In the Gantt diagram below, two tasks are in work interfaces. Their common point is the Zone, it is a Zone interface (geographical). it means that the two tasks are running in the same location.

    The interface has a criticity (distance between 2 little 3D cubes), a complexity(function of the organization) and a duration (duration of the overlap).

    All the tasks with overlaps are not in interface.

    There are 3 natures of interfaces: Zone(geographical), Product (Physical) and Activity (Temporal).

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    The only difference between the multi-dimensional WBS and generic coding structures lies in their links to one another. (See the work of Jean Yves Moine) IF all you do is create coding structures but there is no relationship or connection between them, then all you have are a bunch of sort codes.

    But when you structure them TOGETHER (through the activities or lower levels of the WBS) now you start to see and analyze relationships BETWEEN them....... i.e. just like you can analyze float in two dimensions using the forward pass/backwards pass information, picture if you will being able to analyze the distance between any two or more activities not in a SINGLE dimension but in THREE dimensions.

    Dr. PDG, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    By Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS

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    The coding of the tasks’ID can seem useless but it can allow a better management of the schedule, especially if it is a consequent schedule in terms of number of tasks. Some softwares do not make it possible to code the ID like MS PROJECT, but of others as PRIMAVERA P6 allow it.

    I recommend a coding of the ID with the 3 dimensions of the 3D WBS: Zone, Product and Activity, plus an increment. Each dimension can be coded on 3 characters. We should have something of the form: ZZZ-PPP-AAA-0010.

    Thus, when PRIMAVERA P6 displays the ID of tasks in the columns predecessors and successors, we can read the antecedents and descendants directly without having to follow the logical links. Schedule becomes more comprehensible. It is all the interest to use this coding of the ID.

    The disadvantage of this method it is that planning is heavier to build at the beginning, and its maintainability is effective only if the planner has a table which defines all the codes.

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  • 07/12/13--16:55: Part #87: Cubix 360 software
  • myAMS launches Cubix 360 software:

    Plan your projects up to 10 times faster than usual with 3D WBS method.

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    I will give a conference at the 27th World Congres 2013 of the IPMA, at Dubrovnik in Croatia, the 29 of September 2013. The themes of the 3D structuration of project, the project cube, the interfaces identification, the 3D Gantt and also Cubix360 will be presented during this presentation.

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    Sorry, it's in French ;-)

    To buy it:

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    To be reminded below the 3D Gantt. The axis of the cube are graduated function of the time and the concerned tree structure. This graduation of the axis allows interfaces calculation (distance between two tasks). To be noted that if the project is a linear project (railway, motorway, high building, etc.), then the Zone axis is graduated function of the KP (Kilometric Points) and not the time.

    The 3D Gantt can be complicated to be read by everybody, because it is in 3 dimensions. So, we can imagine a 2D diagram based on the 3D Gantt…

    Everybody knows the time-location diagram (or Time-distance diagram), as shown below:

    We can see above the activities deployed on Products in the time by Zones, with logical links.

    If you imagine that each Product is on one layout, another view of this Time-Zones diagram is shown below:

    This is in fact another view of the 3D Gantt, in 2D… To be noted that this 3D Gantt can be done with a Time-location software!

    Now we can imagine the Time-Product diagram. In 2 dimensions we have the diagram below:

    With Products of each Zones on each layout, we obtain the Time-Product diagram below:

    It is another view of the 3D Gantt. Whereas Time-Zone diagram (or time-location diagram) allows to visualize Geographical interfaces, the Time-Product diagram allows to visualize Product interfaces (physical or functional).

    You can imagine to select and view the layout of your choice, or to see all the layouts together. To be noted that the Product in interface are on the same layout (Zone).

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    A Work Breakdown Structure, in the 3D WBS model, goes up to the tasks. Activities are deployed on Products and Products are assigned to a Zone (it can be instantiated before). A Zone is a group of Products. In anotherwords, to do a schedule, you group the Products by Zone and you detail the Products by Activities. The schedule shows “how” you do the job.

    For a Cost Breakdown structure, it is not the same. I mean for Direct material costs, Direct Labor, Manufacturing overhead, variable or fixed, fees, etc. To build a Cost tree structure, you group the Activities by Zone, and you detail the Activity by Products. You do that because you estimate the cost of SOMETHING.  The Cost Breakdown Structure shows how much is the cost of “something” (Product).

    Now, let’s look at the Cost Breakdown Structure in the project cube.

    First, you group the activities by Zones.

    Then, you deploy Products on activities, with different levels of details.

    In 3D, you obtain this picture, it is not a 3D Gantt, it represents the Cost Breakdown Structure in 3D.

    The Activities are more detailed in a WBS whereas the Products are more detailed in a Cost Breakdown structure.

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    Cubix360 use 3D Work Breakdown Structure method (3D WBS) and propose to build a schedule very methodically. First, the Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) is created, then the Activity Breakdown Structure (ABS) and then the Zone Breakdown Structure (ZBS). Activities are deployed on Products that are assigned into a Zone. The three kind of logical links, Zone, Product and Activity are created, and the durations are defined function of the crossing Product-Activity and the Zone. Finally, the schedule is generated into MS PROJECT or PRIMAVERA P6. Cubix360 propose a real method to build a schedule compared to a traditional approach.

    Cubix360 allows to create very high quality schedules. The task name is very clear, it is in the form “Zone-Product-Activity”. This is compliant with the task definition which is “To do – Something - Somewhere”. Each task has a code Zone, Product and Activity of different levels. This codification make the schedule very structured and allows to groups, filters and sorts the tasks in order to find easily the information. The schedules created with Cubix360 are multi-dimensional.

    Cubix360 allows to create a schedule faster than a traditional approach. The Products factorization inside the Cubix360’s matrix, and also the importation of the elementary tree structures from EXCEL, allow to earn time for the schedule construction, with a factor 5 to 10, function of the complexity of the project.

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    The process to build a schedule with Cubix360 is very easy and intuitive, no need to know the 3D WBS method. You just have to follow the steps proposed by the software:

    •        First you create the Referential: PBS, ABS and ZBS;
    •     Then the structuration of the project: you deploy Activities on Products and you assign Product into Zones;
    •      Then you do the relashionships: of type Zone, Product and Activity;
    •      Then you define the durations: Generic duration weighted by Zones;
    •      And then you generate the schedule to be exported to PRIMAVERA P6 or MS PROJECT.

    When you open a project, you come on this window. You have to define the Referencial, I mean the tree structure Product (PBS, Product Breakdown Structure), Activity (ABS, Activity Breakdown Structure) and Zone (ZBS, Zone Breakdown Structure).

    Generally, the PBS is imported from MS EXCEL, to earn time. To be noted that some Products are instanciated (eg: WC1 & WC2), it means that they are of the same family of their father in the hiercharchy. In anothers words, the activities deployed to build these Products will be the same for all the instanciated Products “WC”.

    You can change the name of the tree items, and description, and define the attributes of the Product. The attribute is a code parallel to the dimension ‘Product’, it can be for instance ‘Discipline’ or ‘Contract’. You can see a tabular view of the Product tree structure, as shown below.

    Then, you import form EXCEL the ABS or define the Activities, in this screen.

    It is the same principle than the Products, you see the tree structure on the left side of the screen, and you can define description and attributes on the right side.

    To finish with the referencial part, you import form EXCEL or you type the Zone tree structure.

    Then, the referencial is finished, you can start to structure the project.

    The first step of the structuring part is to deploy activities on Products. You just click on the table and the affectation are colored in red.

    In the screen before, we can see for instance that the windows must be assembled and painted.

    In the second step of the structuring part, you will assign Product into Zone.

    In this example above, we can see that the roof is assigned to the Kitchen, the dining room, parent’s room, bathroom, etc.

    The next step is to define the relationships of the schedule.

    You can do Activity logical links in this screen (horizontal) of Product logical links (oblique). These logical links can have attribute FS, SS ou FF with lags.

    You can link only the Products that belong to the same Zone because there is another screen to link interzones Products (just after). You can see in this diagram that you assemble the window and then you paint it.

    Then, you will define the interzones logical links.  It means logical links between Products and the Zones. Of course the source and destination Activity will be asked by Cubix360. 

    In the above example, you can see that the window is first installed to the kitchen, then the dining room, then the parents’ room, etc.

    The next step is to define the duration of the tasks.

    First, you will define generic duration at the crossing between Product and Activity. It is a first estimate.

    Then, you will define multiplier coefficient, function of the volume of the Zone, for each Product.

    The last step is the generation of the schedule.

    If you click on ‘Actualize’, you will see the schedule database.

    If you click on ‘Schedule view’, you will see view of your schedule.

    And then, if you click on ‘Export’, you will have the overall database of the schedule.

    After an export to MS PROJECT or PRIMAVERA P6 we obtain the following schedule.

    Schedules done with Cubix360 are very structured. It contain all task code (Zone, Product, Acitivity and attributes at different levels) that allow to find easily the information. These schedules are done very quicky with a gain factor between 5 to 10.

    It is multidimensional schedule because it crosses the ABS, the PBS and the ZBS. 


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    The first vocation of 3D WBS method is to structure well a project.

    A well structured project (in 3D) allows:

    • To manage well the project in terms of costs and time,
    • To integrate the projects of the portfolio between them,
    • To consolidate the information on the portfolio of projects,
    • To sort, filter, group, find easily the information,
    • To homogenize the projects between them,
    • To link the costs and the time,
    • To give clear instructions to the subcontractors for the structuring of their schedules,
    • To have very explicit names of tasks,
    • To have a freedom to grouping the tasks,
    • To turn and turn over the schedule in all the directions,
    • To connect the various disciplines of the management of project,
    • To have a clear definition of the workpackage,
    • To better communicate into the project team,
    • To help the stakeholders to read the schedule, understand and visualize what is meant to happen,
    • To capitalize the information.
    3D WBS method increases these arguments.

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    Cubix360 is the only software that apply 3D WBS method.
    Plan quickly and well, with 3D WBS method, MS PROJECT or PRIMAVERA P6 schedules.

    To contact the software editor myAMS to try it or to buy it:

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  • 12/03/13--05:54: Part #95: 3D WBS and 4D BIM

  • The futurein terms ofproject scheduling is the BIM(Building InformationModeling), that is to say,4D BIM schedules,in which we can seethe unit built in3DconnectedwithGantt schedule,with 3Ddrawingsofthe plantfor instance.

    Researches are currentlydeveloped throughOmniClassandNORSOK, that are two international standards coding systems forprojects, useful for the construction of a “4D BIM” schedule. Because you absolutely needastandardWBScodificationfor these tools.

    3DWBS method offers truemulti-dimensionalschedules, since the elementary structuresof the scheduleare linked: ABS (Activity),PBS(Product) and ZBS (Zone).
    The challengeof the planning oftomorrow isto have astandardcodification of tasksfor BIMprecisely.

    Schedules done with 3D WBS method can have a standardized WBS because the crossing of PBS and ABS is standard for a Product line  (eg: Nuclear power plant, sewage treatment plant, etc.), only the zones change between projects of the same Product line. To be noted that standard schedules do not exist, because the Zones are different from one project to another one.
    3DWBSmodel providesa beautifulanswerto 4D BIM, all the more that it integrates the third dimension: the geographical areas. Schedules structured with 3D WBS method are perfect for BIM applications.

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    When I work on the concept that Jean-Yves develop long time ago, it was specially because I was “fed up” with the hierarchical approach that imply most of the WBS, and the fight about its standardization.

    I study conception for management software engineering in my youth, and I always keep a fascination to the relation database model. So my eager was to find a way to modelize something and respond to everybody in the company by turning it up in every senses in one instant.So as I work mainly in my youth with Artemis, with the very structured codification environnement of oil and gaz (Mobil and then Exxon), I simply use without knowing it this 3D approach to do the trick. Then I met Jean-Yves, that push the concept so far that new frontiers appears (in addition to the speed to develop a schedule). In particular, what is very important for me is the following:
    1. 2 of The 3 type of codification (ABS & PBS) are fully able to be standardize in the company without fight (even if you should be careful with” PBS” that in fact is 2 codes and decompose it for the exercise in pure PBS and SBS to match the need of some of the phase of the ABS because you began to think functionnaly, then you go through the product, before finishing functionnaly)
    2. ZBS is specific to each project and can support the instantiation of the product (but could follow some guideline in its definition in particular the unicity of each code -  no overlap-)
    3. Different level of each of the structure could be mixed at different stage of the project and depending the use of your WBS to create the project WBS (you can have a detail difference in your WBS for procurement and manufacturing because you manufacture some items for example), and the approach is still coherent,
    4. When you create your mix with the OBS to obtain the share of work, you obtain as more difficult interface than the fundamental dimension of the WBS component are far in the concerned branch of the code (that lead to create an allocation of the package reducing those gaps to simplify the interface).
     Thus I without knowing it implementing it till many years, but with the full modelization of Jean-Yves is able to succeed in standard codification in my company because I say no more froze hierarchical WBS, just ABS, PBS, SBS and rules to create your ZBS. Then NO PACKAGE WITH TOO GREAT GAP ON EACH OF THE DIMENSIONS (or with logical huge gap like company who you subcontract high level specification and functional test & commissioning). 

    WBS is dead, because 3D WBS allow you to keep it “relational” instead of hierarchicaland this does the trick with a lot of things, specialy with those “fuc…” computerized financial management systems called ERP that most of the time impose to you a 20 digits codification (when not more) to link everything when a anonymous code will be greater if you use the 4 codes composing the 3D.

    Xavier Leynaud

    ALSTOM, Head of Planning & Load Management HEU Projects

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    With Cubix 360, young as well as experienced schedulers have time to talk about about interface coordination while meeting project actors, instead of spending their time behind their computer! Less keyboard, more paper board! A key for project planning efficiency!

    Xavier LEYNAUD, Head of Planning & Load Management HEU Projects, ALSTOM POWER HYDRO

    As Project coordinator, I was pleased to try out the 3D WBS method for the development of the railroad schedule of the tramway of Tours. On the basis of my knowledge of the Tramway activity, we were able to structure in very little time a robust and effective framework of the schedule which is still in use in the project management.


    I had the opportunity to work with the 3D WBS method as it was being developed  with its prototype tool and within the framework of one of the parts of the Balard building site, the French Pentagon, we were able to make  the schedules on PRIMAVERA P6 very quickly in a rough draft of 12 different buildings (new, heavy and light rehabilitation). This method is all the more fine and effective according to the knowledge of the project or the projects managers and it requires a close cooperation with the planners.

    Alexis BILON, Planning Unit Manger – BOUYGUES BATIMENT

    « The factorization of the Project’s tasks following the 3 axes Activities, Products and Zones then the automated development in 3D allows a dramatically efficient project planning.  It was easy to build examples of an application to an IT project within the framework of an agile predictive method Waterfall… Innovating,  effective, efficient and educational!”

    Sylvain LE MUT DELAYS, Project manager IT - Project Management Institute

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    The PBS(Product Breakdown Structure) is very important for the project management system.

    It is this tree structure which must be first established when we want to structure a project. We ask “What must we do? ”, and we decline the perimeter of the project by equipments, materials, and civil works components. It is on this PBS that Activities (ABS) are deployed in order to carry out these Products. Then, these Products are possibly instantiated and then assigned to Zones (ZBS).

    The Products are physical objects except for the design and tests phases, phases in which the PBS consists of functional system and subsystems (SBS).

    When we wants to unify the costs and the time, and to define macroscopic workpackages to accommodate the tasks, it is necessary to be based on this Product tree structure. Indeed, it is necessary that the orders of equipments and materials, and their terms of payment, can be charged to the same element to ensure the coherence of system. It is thus understood that the workpackages must be Product oriented rather than by Activities and Zones.

    The PBS is the framework of the schedule, that is why it is the first dimension of the 3D WBS.

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