Executive Control with Flexibility In Managing Capital Projects


Abstract | Introduction | Need for PM | Comparison | Objectives
Execution | Features | Flexibility | Stages | Work Breakdown
Scheduling | Construction Management | Services | Conclusion

Don’t Over Do the Breakdown

Note, however, that a project should not be broken down to such an extent, or contain work packages so small, that unnecessary administrative effort is incurred in maintaining the information flow. On projects up to, say, $25 million in the construction phase, a minimum work package value of, say, 0.1% is a good rule of thumb. Above $25 million, minimum values should be deliberately set which are compatible with the effort and time available for data collection in the context of overall project objectives.

Since all contract work is also eventually planned and controlled through work packages, it is necessary to identify different types of work packages and their characteristics. All work packages can be categorized into one of three different types:

  1. Discrete tasks which have a specific end result or objective. These normally comprise 60 - 75% of the project work
  2. Level-of-effort tasks which do not have specific end results. These are comprised mainly of the overhead accounts, such as management, administration, liaison and co-ordination. These are characterized by relatively level, time-phased budgets and are not time-limited as in the case of discrete tasks
  3. Apportioned-effort tasks, which can be directly related and apportioned to discrete tasks, such as quality control or inspection. These tasks are in support of the discrete tasks and thus their schedule and budget can be related to the discrete tasks.

During feasibility, work packages may also be categorized by the degree of maturity of work definition:

  1. Conceptual work packages are based upon preliminary sketches and thus the estimatesof time and cost are based on historical data, experience and judgment rather than detailed "take off" estimates. The scope of these work packages may be large, and the duration relatively long
  2. When the Project Brief is presented to the owner for final approval to begin working drawings and construction, the work packages are based upon the final scope of work. The estimate and schedule will be correspondingly firmer, and consequent control will be stronger
  3. Firm work packages meet the requirements of being based upon firm design, firm budgets, and a firm schedule. These work packages should be identified 2 to 6 months prior to performing the work, and can only be revised with the approval of the Project Manager and normally as a consequence of a change order

Project Stages  Typical Project Stages

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