Dear PM Advisor. Mar 3, 2014

Dear PM Advisor, When I'm generating a Work Breakdown Structure, the pattern for the completion of documents is always the same. Draft, Review, Edit, Review, Edit, Approve. Can't I just list all the documents as the one deliverable, place all the activities underneath it and I'm done with that section of the WBS? It seems a lot easier but I'm afraid I'll pay for it later?

Short-cut in Cambridge.

Dear Short-cut,

As the CarTalk denizens of your fair city are quick to point out: "It's the stingy man who pays the most!" As you suspect, there will be a payment for taking this short-cut. But it may not be as bad as you suspect.

Just remember what your next steps are after filling out the WBS. The activities need to be placed on the Responsibility Matrix and people need to volunteer for who will take responsibility for them. If they are all the same people on every document, you could be in luck. Most likely this is not the case.

Then the activities need to be placed in the schedule. If you're using MS-Project at this point, a simple cut and paste will help but you'll need to add the word describing each actual document. I'm a big proponent of activities standing alone. You shouldn't have activities named: Review. You'll have to scroll up each time to see exactly what the person is reviewing.

Next you have to add the durations and predecessors and they will vary by document.

My preference is to have each activity broken out within the WBS. You can use this as an opportunity to involve the people who have little to add to the WBS by asking them to repeat the activities you wrote under one document for all the other documents. Great opportunity for some team building.

Good luck,

PM Advisor 

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