There are three key criteria that are generally believed as the indicator for a successful project. They are on goal, on budget and on schedule. To have a successful project, the Project Manager and project team have to focus on integrating the planning of those aspects. How to have a successful project or how to avoid the project from not achieving the main objectives: on goals, on budget and on schedule? The same question falls to a community development water supply project in a mining company in Sulawesi, where access to deliver materials, equipment and people is challenging.
“Devil” lies in the details – this is a most appropriate term to express the root cause of why in many cases, a project has failed to achieve goals, budget and schedule. Project details have been started missing from the project plan preparation, when the Project Manager tends to manage the project in the high level and forget the importance of detailing the project structures down to activities and resources level. The detail mentioned here is commonly named as a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
In order to have a valid assessment of the water supply project WBS, it is chosen to benchmark it with one of the recognized and proven WBS standards, named OmniClass.
OmniClass Construction Classification system is a new classification system for the construction industry. It is designed to provide a standardize basis for classifying information created and used by the North American architectural, engineering and construction industry. OmniClass consist of 15 tables, each of which represents a different facet of construction information.
Project and OmniClass WBS Comparison
To narrow the benchmarking, let us take example from the real stage of the project and show how the WBS has been structured compares with how OmniClass would do. It has been selected to choose the work preparation phase and project closure phase as the examples. These are selected since in a practical, these are the two phases where a Project Manager sometimes does not spend enough time in detailing. As the water project is now in construction preparation phase, Table 22 – Work Result of the OmniClass is the most appropriate standard to represent the OmniClass approach. A work result represents a completed entity that exists after all required materials, human or machine effort, and processes have been provided to achieve a completed condition.
Table 1 Work Preparation & Project Closure WBS – Project versus OmniClass
Analysis and Result
Based on table comparison above, it is obvious that the water supply project has missed some important WBS deliverables in the work preparation phase. The details those would be recommended by the OmniClass Table 22 as shown above are very important to be in the plan in order to have a smooth start of the project.
Same thing with the project closure phase, a stage where the project starts to produce. In this stage, the project stakeholders’ focus has sometimes been shifted to the project product and not realizing that the project closure is also important to ensure the project record or documentation and sustainability in the future. OmniClass once again has shown some important details that will help the project manager/team to well preparing the project closure .
From the two examples above – OmniClass Table 22 Work Result has provided some valuable and more detail WBS compare to what the water supply project had been structured. The details will truly help the Project Manager to start developing more detail WBS for the project to further level of details – work package, activity and resources level. When all these details are available, a more manageable and realistic project schedule can be developed. Then, the same WBS can be also used to structure the project budget using WinEst – RSMeans or any others cost estimating data base.
In the other words, the same WBS can be used to build and manage project budget and schedule at the same time. It is now can be firmly concluded that the more detail the WBS, the likelihood of the project to achieve goals, budget and schedule is higher.
CSI OmniClass (2010), OmniClass Table 22 – Work Results. Retrieved from www.omniclass.org