Project Management 101


Index | 1. Introduction / In general ... | 2. Logical Sequence and Work | 3. Why Use Project Management?
4. Planning and Organizing the Work | 5. Quality Management
6A. Sequencing the Work of the Project | 6B. Sequencing the Work of the Project
7. Project Manager's Responsibility | 8A. Creating a Team to Do the Work | 8B. Creating a Team to Do the Work
9. Corporate Management's Responsibilities | 10. Achieving Project Success
11. Transitioning the Product and Completing the Project

4.  Planning and Organizing the Work

How much work
work breakdown structure


Leadership Reason 3 - Of course, to be a leader you have to know where you are going before you start.

In project management, this is known as the product's "scope", that is, the "What" in what it is that we are trying to achieve. We refer to this as the "deliverable".

The term "scope" is frequently referred to as the "project scope". This is typical of the misleading labeling of project management terminology. "Project scope" ought to refer to the boundary of authority of the project team, or "What's in and what's not in".

Anyway, once the product's "scope" is determined, we know what is involved and, just as importantly, what is not involved. Hence, we can determine the amount of work required.


One of the best ways of defining what you intend to do is to adopt a project management technique called a "Work Breakdown Structure" (WBS).

This technique is arguably the most powerful technique in project management because it provides the basis for planning, scheduling, cost estimating, configuring, monitoring, reporting, directing and controlling the project. It is essentially a "communication tool".

It starts out by identifying the various components of the final deliverable and presenting it like a family tree.

So, the first level of a WBS represents the separate components of the intended product. Then follows the work involved in creating those separate components.

These are known as "Work Packages" which in turn can be used to establish the discrete work activities and resources required. In this way we can get to understand what all is involved in the project.

You can learn a lot more about the WBS here starting with Issacon 1062

Why we are doing it


There are various ways to structure a WBS depending on management control requirements. For example, by:

  • Geographically separated areas
  • Major chronological time periods
  • Structural, process, system, or device components
  • Intermediate deliverables required in the production of the end deliverables
  • Areas of responsibility, i.e. functional, discipline, trade or service

Consequently, for a large project, the WBS can get quite big, complex and contain multiple levels.

In this case, the best way to develop a WBS, and gather all the necessary information, is to assemble your team of experts and conduct a Brain Storming session.

Brainstorming is another valuable technique because:

  • No single person has all the required information
  • It gets people involved in the project, and
  • Committed to its goals and objectives

You can learn how to conduct a brainstorming session here at Issacon 1446:


Leadership Reason 4 - Raising the big questions:

a) "Why are we doing it?" is an important question. It is not a good idea to do something that is not worth its while. That would be a waste of the time and effort. You can tell if a project is worthwhile when the benefits you expect are worth significantly more than the time, effort and consumables it takes to do the project in the first place.

Of course, in our case, what you end up with must also be generally consistent with your organization's overall goals.

  a presentation  
When things go wrong


b) "How are we going to get it done?" is another important question.

Like the captain of the ship, you have to know how you are going to get where you want to arrive. And, like the ship's captain, you need a qualified crew to chart the course and manage the journey.

In project management this is called project planning.

Once again, assemble the key members of your team and develop a plan.

There is a lot to learn about planning, and the best place to start is with Issacon 1079 and more from the links here.


For example, computer-scheduling software is very popular for preparing logic diagrams, networks and barcharts, to say nothing of progress charts and resource loading.

But they require software expertise, a lot of data and an underlying understanding of the work at hand.

However, at the very simplest level, to make sure that your project proceeds at a reasonably even pace, you should establish milestones, and work steadily through those.

A milestone can be described as:

"A point in time representing a key or important intermediate event in the life of a project. A milestone should be capable of validation by meeting all of the items prescribed in a defining checklist as agreed with the stakeholders." [D01022]

As our diagram shows, failure to use milestones can result in a lot of grief!

3. Why Use Project Management  3.  Why Use Project Management

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