WBS – Dictionary

November 4, 2009

When finalized, a WBS will have several control accounts associated to work packages. More than one work package may be associated with a control account but any one work package is associated with one unique control account. Control accounts are management control points where scope, cost and schedule are integrated. These are used to estimate earned value at performance measurement points in the project life cycle.

The WBS Dictionary

The dictionary is really a supporting document to the WBS. The dictionary provides more detailed descriptions of the WBS elements. By the very nature of the diagram not much detail could be included in the WBS. The dictionary would provide the details related to the activity indicated in the WBS diagram. Work packages as well as control accounts are indicated in the dictionary.

The dictionary contents would include the code of control account, description of the work, the organization that is responsible for it, list of schedule milestones and related activities, resources required, cost estimates, quality requirements, acceptance criteria, technical references and contract information.

As you can see, the pieces of information almost completely define the corresponding WBS activity in the WB structure. Some organizations may need additional information for managing the project. The WBS dictionary should accommodate these additional details.

The control account is the overall control that tracks everything about a particular work package. Description of the work defines the work package and assigning an organization responsible for it, makes sure someone is handling the work package. The activities defined in the work package are defined as are the list of schedule milestones. People responsible would be aware of what has been planned and thus, as a consequence, how the activities related to the package must be controlled.

Resources required will help the team responsible to assemble the necessary resources together before start of the work package. Cost estimates data ensures work performance measurements can be carried out as the work progresses.

Quality requirements are clearly specified so that quality control and assurance activities can be arranged at required points in the work package progress. Achieving quality is an essential deliverable for products certainly, even for services and results too.

Acceptance criteria defines where exactly work ends. These criteria must be measurable so that the deliverable can be checked against measurements and one could take a decision that the work is completed and the completeness of the work and its quality are acceptable.

Technical references must be clearly mentioned. That can help checking assumptions as the project progresses. For determining the completeness and sufficiency of some work, a reference may have been made to literature available in public domain or in some specialist literature. When reading the WBS one needs these references to be absolutely clear.

Contract information also should be readily available. This way the exact reference is available always. Whereas finding the exact applicable contractual reference may be a difficult task, if one has to go through the complete contract every time. One may even miss the need to refer to the contract proposal. The contract reference flags any relevant issue so that it is not missed.

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One Response to WBS – Dictionary

  1. Blog4Cash on May 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm

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