Work Packages and the WBS
The Project Management Plan, Project Brief or Project Charter
- If the deliverable consists of a number of different elements, these are identified and assembled into Work Packages (WPs) and presented in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
- Each WP involves a set of activities, the "work" that is planned and scheduled as a part of the Project Management Plan. Note, however, that the planning will still be at a relatively high level, and more detailed planning will be necessary during execution if the project is given the go ahead.
- This Project Management Plan, by the way, should become the "bible" for the execution phase of the project and is sometimes referred to as the "Project Brief" or the "Project Charter".
- The cost of doing the various activities is then estimated and these estimated costs are aggregated to determine the estimated cost of the WP. This approach is known as "detailed estimating" or "bottom up estimating". There are other approaches to estimating that we'll come to in a minute. Either way, the result is an estimated cost of the total work of the project.
Note: that project risk management planning is an important part of this exercise. This should examine the project's assumptions and environmental conditions to identify any weaknesses in the plan thus far, and identify those potential risk events that warrant attention for mitigation. This might take the form of specific contingency planning, and/or the setting aside of prudent funding reserves.