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Develop an Activity Breakdown of the Work Required to Produce Each Product
By Richard Morreale

This is the 4th step in a series that I have been presenting on the 9 Step Structured Project Planning Process. I’ve already covered Steps 1 to 3 in previous articles before. Step 1 broke the project down into major stages of work. Step 2 identified the products to be developed and delivered in each stage. Step 3 defined, as much as possible, the content and format standards for each of the products identified in Step 2. Now, in Step 4 it is time to identify the activities that will be required to develop and deliver the products. Until you know the activities that have to be accomplished to develop and deliver the products, you won’t be able to identify the process you will want the team to follow in producing the product nor will you be able to identify the resource requirements accurately. That is why in this Step 4 you need to identify all of the activities for producing each product. In ‘official’ Project Management terms this is called a Work Breakdown Structure.

My suggestion is that you strive to establish, as much as possible, a generic series of activities to produce the products. In most cases I’ve used the following generic series of activities:

  • Prepare Draft
  • Handover for Review
  • Review and Comment on Draft
  • Rework Draft with Appropriate Comments
  • Agree Final
  • Baseline Final

Let me show you how that would work in practice. Using the content breakdown from the previous Step as an example and planning your activities at the lowest level of the content breakdown, here are 2 examples:

Example covering Introduction Section of Product

  • Prepare Draft Introduction
  • Handover Introduction for Review
  • Review and Comment on Draft Introduction
  • Rework Draft Introduction with Appropriate Comment
  • Agree Final Introduction
  • Baseline Final Introduction

Example covering Requirement 1 + n Section of Product

  • Prepare Draft Requirement 1 + n Section
  • Handover Requirement 1 + n Section for Review
  • Review and Comment on Draft Requirement 1 + n Section
  • Rework Draft Requirement 1 + n Section with Appropriate Comment
  • Agree Final Requirement 1 + n Section
  • Baseline Final Requirement 1 + n Section

Using a set of generic activities helps to make planning easier, makes it easier for team members to remember the plan and to work with it and makes it easier to track and report on achievement. Establishing a generic set of activities that can be used for most of your products and therefore for most of the plan is easier than it might sound. Try it. You will be amazed at how easy it is to do and how much easier it is to monitor and control.

Richard is a project manager, professional speaker, author and consultant specializing in Project Management, Leadership, Achievement and Customer Service.

You can book Richard for your next meeting or conference at richard@richardmorreale.com or 336 499 6677.

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