Channel: CUBIX PROJECT MANAGEMENT - 3D Work Breakdown Structure method
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Part #99: Methodological guide of project planning with 3D WBS method

Part #95: How to manage both cost and time together?

Cost estimating, Cost Control and Planning have not the same needs in terms of levels of details. But all these disciplines of the Project Management must be based on the same WBS. This is the paradox apparently…

Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) is the consolidation of the costs on the axis of the 3D WBS, I mean on the different floors of the Zones, Products and Activities tree structures.

The picture below shows that the tree structure of the Cost estimating has a strong level of details for Products (level #5). It is Product oriented because we estimate the cost of something (What? = Product). The level of detail for the schedule is strong in terms of Activities (level #5) because the schedule shows how we do the works (How? = Activity or action). It is not the same needs.

Because all the tree structure of the 3D WBS are linked together, Costs and schedule data can be consolidated throughout the tree structures. The picture below shows that there is an optimal level of Project Management to produce reporting and dashboards common to the Costs and the Schedule.

Part #96: 3D WBS structured schedule with OMNICLASS tables

This is 3D WBS Structured MS PROJECT schedule, with tables #13 (spaces by function = Zones), 22 (Work results = Activities), and 23 (Products) of OMNICLASS referential. It is about building's frames.

Part #97: OMNICLASS, UNICLASS 2 & ISO 12006 standards Vs 3D WBS method

Construction building sector has standards for the project structuration as OMNICLASS, UNICLASS 2 and ISO 12006 standards. These standards are not usefull if their tables are not linked together. 3D WBS method allows to do it.

Activities are deployed on Products and Products are assigned to the Zones, that define the task. In another hand, Organization entities are assigned on tasks.



ISO 12006 Vs 3D WBS

Part #98: Make a success of your projects, structure them!

I deeply understood what is work (WBS), I modelled it. To work, it is to do something somewhere. And a project, it is an organization which works.  The structure of a project thus has 4 dimensions: to do (activities or actions, ABS), something (products, PBS), somewhere (zones, ZBS) and the organization (OBS). The whole evolves in the time, which is the fifth dimension of a project. A project thus has 5 dimensions. Then it is complicated to manage, this is why the projects are often failures. It is thus necessary to structure well information of the projects, in order to find it easily, and to aggregate and consolidate the data on all dimensions. In modeling that I created, the 3DWBS, all dimensions are in relation, they are linked. Then information can circulate of a dimension to another. The 3D WBS thus makes it possible to connect all the elements of a project (costs, time, deliverables, quality, resources, documents, etc.).  In other words, one can have an integrated project management if 3D WBS method is applied.

Part #99: Make a success of your projects, identify the interfaces!

The management of the interfaces is one of the keys of the project management, everyone speaks about it but nobody can really identify them, these interfaces. With 3DWBS method, I am able to find them, mathematically and automatically, starting from the schedule and the WBS of the project. An interface is a risk, it is managed like a risk. It is necessary to identify the hard points of the project (interfaces) to treat them when they become reality. Moreover, nobody knows really what is an interface. An interface takes place at the same time when two tasks are carried out in parallel. An interface thus has a duration. But all the tasks in parallel are not in interface, only some of them are. 3D WBS method precisely makes it possible to calculate those which correspond indeed to interfaces by evaluating their criticality and their complexity. It is a question of distance between the tasks within WBS cube. In work (WBS), all has three dimensions, and even the interfaces. Then there are interfaces of Zones (geographical), Products (physical) and Activities (logical, temporal). For example, if two tasks take place at the same place, it is an interface of Zone; If I install the transformer then I connect cables above, it is a Product interface; If I prepare the ground then I do the earthworks, it is an interface of the Activity type. 3D WBS method thus makes it possible to generate the list of the interfaces of the project, which is an innovation! Then, when they are identified, they are managed like the risks: they are classified, prioritized, treated, then capitalized.

Part #100: Abstraction and reality within a project

At the beginning and the end of the project one works in the abstraction, whereas in the middle of the project one works in the concrete world.

And this on the 3 axes of work (WBS): Activities, Products, and Zones.

For example, on a construction project of a Power plant, at the beginning and the end of the project the Zones are functional, one call-that “Process units” or “Working units”; then in the middle of the project, at the time of construction they are geographical, which is more concrete. For the Activities it is similar, to design and to test, it is abstract like connotation, whereas to install and to build it is concrete. And for Products, it is the same, one studies and one tests by functional systems, which exist not physically, whereas one buys and one installs equipment, which is quite concrete, them.

Then, work is abstract in the beginning and end of project, and it is concrete in the middle.

Part #101: How to define the Workpackages?

As we know, the Workpackage is the smallest level of deliverable if the WBS. It cannot be broken down. A series of Activities produces/creates a deliverable or a Workpackage. It has an unique responsible: the Workpackage Manager.

In 3D WBS method, the deliverables are the Products (PBS). A series of Activity are deployed to create the Product. But we find the same Product in different Zones (ZBS). Hence, the Workpackage is at the crossing between Product and Zones.

More of that, the Workpackage has an unique responsible that belongs to the OBS. Hence, the Workpackage is at the crossing between OBS, PBS and ZBS.

In the matrix below, we can define the Workpackages. The colors reprent the Responsibles of the OBS.

By analyzing all the correpondances, the find the Workpackages (WP) below.

To summarize, we can write:


To be understood that under the Workpackages there are the Activities.

In a schedule, the Workpackage are summary tasks.

Part #102: 3D WBS formulas

"x" means Crossing
"+" means Assigning

Translation :
  • A project is an organization that works; 
  • Work is doing something somewhere; 
  • Doing things can be standardized for a project type, what changes from one project to another is the location; 
  • A workpackage is all the activities of a thing that is done at a specific location with an unique responsible. A project is made ​​up of workpackages.

Part #103: 3D WBS’ tree structures relationships model

Under, how are linked all the tree structures of the 3D WBS model.

I did not integrate the Resources (RBS), because I think that they must not be assigned to tasks, I prefer to use the weighting method of tasks, with hours, on huge schedules.

One Zone contains several Products. One Product contains several Activities.

There is one responsible from OBS by task. 

There is one responsible from OBS by Workpackage.

ZBS is divided by functional Zones (process units, releases, etc.) and by physical Zones (Geographical, target machine type, etc.).

PBS is divided by Systems (SBS) and components (pure Products).

The workpackage are at the crossing between one Zone, one Product, and one OBS responsible.

Part #104: KKS classification and 3D WBS

KKS is a classification system for plants.

It has three different type of codes that are compatible with 3D WBS model:

  •     Process-related identification that are Product (Systems/pure Products) in 3D WBS method,
  •     Point of installation identification, that are Zones in 3D WBS method,
  •     Location identification, that are Zones in 3D WBS method.

Part #105: When students imagine the 3D WBS cube

Part #106: Elementary tree structures of projects


Dimension #1: What?

Dimension #2: How?

Dimension #3: Where?

Dimension  #4: Who?

Part #107: How to measure the physical progress of the engineering’s deliverables?

If big engineering companies create for themselves a specific tool to manage the physical progress of the deliverables, it is because there are thousands of deliverables and that it is considered that it is impossible to manage with a planning software.  However, a planning software is ideal to manage physical progress. But what complicated, it is to create a schedule of 10,000 tasks, not to update it. When planning is created, its update is indeed very fast.

The 3D WBS method and its tools make it possible to create huge schedules very quickly, and well structured. Then big quantity of information to be taken into account is not anymore one problem, because the tools changed, and today, one should not anymore hesitate to create a schedule to follow the physical progress of the engineering’s deliverables and others.

Within the meaning of the 3D WBS:

  • the Product it is the deliverable (document)
  • the Activities are the steps of the process of emission and validation of the documents (write, check, approved, etc.) 
  • and the Zones are Process Units or Working Units, in other words functional Zones.

3D WBS changed the way of apprehending the progress measurement of the deliverables.

Part #108: What is the nature of the relationships of a schedule?

All has 3 dimensions in work (3D WBS), even the logical links of the schedule. 

We all know that there exist logical links between tasks of type finish to start, start to start or finish to finish, but the logical links have a nature too. The links can be of nature Zones (ZBS), Products (PBS) or Activities (ABS).

Let’s take a construction project of an infrastructure of railways, and analyze the link between the tasks “Zone #1-Track-Installation” and “Zone #2-Track-Installation”, linked in Finish to start. They are of the form “Zone-Product-Activity”, and it is seen well that only the Zone differs between these two tasks. It is thus about a link of Zone nature.

Now, let’s take the tasks “Building A-Transformer-Installation” linked to the task “Building A-Cable-Installation” with a finish to start link. This time, it is the Product which differs between these two tasks, it is thus a logical link of Product nature.

Now let’s take the tasks “Building A-Transformer-Transportation” and “building A-Transformer-Installation”. This time, it is the activity which differs between these two tasks, it is thus a link of Activity nature.

The interest, it is that when a schedule is created, one will define all the logical links with method. First, one will define the links of Activity nature, then Products then Zones. As a result, even the logical connections of the schedule will be structured and the quality of schedule will be better.

Part #109: Practical application of the 3D Gantt

This is a classical Gantt diagram, of a communication system project.

This is the same schedule with 3D Gantt diagram.
The added value, it is that on the 3D Gantt you can read immediately the criticality of the interfaces (Zone, Product, Activity) by evaluating the distance between the tasks. 

Part #110: 3D WBS for IT projects

What is important in IT, it is the number of achievable separate applications thatit is necessary to generate for the whole of the software. This, because it is necessary to complete a certain work to adapt a software so that it turns on a specific material or a different environment, i.e. a target machine of different type: OS (operating system of the machine) and/or screens and/or flows of communication and/or computing power of the machine.

One can characterize these types of achievable separate applications by “types of target machines”.

It should be noted that if the differences between target machines are too important, as well as the efforts to arrive at the result, the adaptation to a kind of environment targets can be regarded as a  sub project.

The“Types of target machines” can be:

  • Functional:

    • a waiter application or a customer application;

    • a real time distributed application: a module turns on petrol pump, the other on the exchange of the station with petrol which is interfaced with the bank for the payment;

    • pieces of an application of distributed calculation being carried out on parallel machines which treat each one part of the total treatment with a machine which supervises;

    • an embarked software on a mobile object, e.g: a plane comprising several treatment units which dialogue between them with a central calculator.

  • Physical: when one wishes to test the application on different material architectures:

    • an application which turns on PC, Tablet or Smartphone;

    • a website with a posting and menus planned specifically for shelf and Smartphone.

  • Environmental: when one wishes to test the application on different OS: an application on Linux, Windows, MAC, Unix.

NOTE: Compilers and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) make certainly it possible to rather easily ensure in many cases the passage under different OS like Unix/Linux/Windows/Mac, but that nevertheless requires a work of production of the achievable correspondents and sometimes a complete recasting as for Android or an OS real time.

On the low floors of the tree structure of Zones are the types of target machines. These Environment or Zones can be physical, which gives the name of this tree structure: GBS, for Geographical Breakdown Structure. The concept of geography returns here to that of material architectures.

In addition, overallconcept the “of functionalities” prevails in the structuring of an IT project. This concept is thus at the top of tree structure of the 3D WBS. Activities are deployed on modules (a family of functions) which are assigned to functional Zones. Each functional Zone understands a set of functionalities.

It should be noted that in the two other tree structures of the 3D WBS, i.e. the Products (PBS, Product Breakdown Structure) and the Activities (ABS, Activity Breakdown Structure), one finds on the high floors of these tree structures abstract concepts (functional systems and macro-Activities) and on the low floors of these tree structures concrete concepts (components/equipment/works, precise Activities).

The following figure illustrates the tree structure of the Zones for an IT project.

The concept of version of the software is to be specified. Basically, a version is an evolution of the functionalities of a module (Product). According to 3D WBS, a version can thus be seen as an instantiated Product - since two different versions from the same module are carried out starting from the same Activities.

More generally, as on all types of projects, even if they are industrial, of infrastructure type, Product development and even IT, Zones are of Physico-functional nature.

Written with Sylvain LE MUET DELAYS

Part #111: NORSOK Standard Z-014 vs 3D WBS method

The NORSOK standards are developed by the Norwegian petroleum industry to ensure adequate safety, value adding and cost effectiveness for petroleum industry developments and operations. This NORSOK standard describes a system for coding of cost and weight estimates and as-built/experience data.

The system comprises 3 sets of complementary sub-coding systems named: PBS, SAB and COR.

  • Physical Breakdown Structure (PBS): This hierarchical structure defines the Physical/Functional components of «Projects» during any phase of development. The PBS provides a coding structure, which enables any known Oil and Gas Production and processing facility configuration scheme to be coded.
  • Standard Activity Breakdown (SAB): This hierarchical structure provides a timescale attribute to express when during the project lifetime, expenditures and activities occur.
  • Code Of Resource (COR): This hierarchical structure classifies all project resources and categorizes resources according to primary, secondary and tertiary levels of resources.
The PBS of NORSOK can be compared to the PBS of 3D WBS.

The SAB of NORSOK can be compared to the ABS of 3D WBS.

The COR of NORSOK can compared to the OBS/RBS of 3D WBS.

3D WBS method can be based on NORSOK Standard Z-014 but zones must be added. So, NORSOK Standard Z-014 and 3D WBS method are compatible.

Part #112: Scope definition with 3D WBS method

According to the PMBOKfrom PMI, Project Scope Management describes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. It consists of initiation, scope planning, scope definition, scope verification, and scope change control.

The output of the scope definition process is the WBS. It’s clear that 3D WBS tools and techniques are perfect to define project scope. We dissociate scope of works that is clearly the 3D WBS, and scope of Product which is based on the PBS only.

3D WBS is in the core of project management and project performance.

Part #113: Time, Cost and Scope variations management

Time, Cost and Scope management tree structuresare defined with 3D WBS method.

3D WBS method goes further of project structuration, I call it then 3D Project Management. It is 3D structured projects with advanced project management methods.

Then, it must be understood that Time, Cost, and Scope variations are managed in the same way. There are always a baseline and a current state that are compared periodically. The result of this comparison is the variation.

Variations shall be managed as qualitative risks. It shall be identify, classify, prioritized, treated, and capitalized.

Variations shall be classified, managed, and traced as shown on the figure below.

Variation sheets can be done to formalize the variations.

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