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Short article on the value breakdown structure (VBS) at Jean-Yves Moine's 3D-WBS site

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Stephen Devaux
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 42 min ago. Offline
Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 623

You can find it here on Jean-Yves' very interesting site.

A value breakdown structure is, along with critical path drag, drag cost, true cost, and some other metrics, a feature of the Total Project Control methodlogy. For those who are not familiar with the features and benefits of a VBS, I think this article explains the concept quite thoroughly.

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan

Replies

Stephen Devaux
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 42 min ago. Offline
Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 623

Hi, Jean-Yves. How nice of you to buy my book!

Actually, I expect to find out within the next week that CRC Press wants to publish a new edition of it (probably re-titled something like Total Project Control: A Practitioner's Guide to Managing Projects as Investments). I could suggest that you wait and read my second book, Managing Projects as Investments: Earned Value to Business Value, which is supposed to be out in September. The new book is aimed more at a senior management audience, explaining why and how to manage projects as investments but only mentioning (without getting into "the weeds") things like WBS, VBS, forward and backward passes, free float, SS, FF, SF, lags/leads, reverse critical path and so on.

But with your strong background, you shouldn't have any trouble with the more detailed TPC book. (The new book also will have two earned value chapters, of which I'm quite proud. The first explains EVM, its strengths, weaknesses, and how to improve it. I think it's the most non-intimidating explanation of the subject that I've ever read, using golf scores as a metaphor. The second chapter explores the value of more advanced EVM metrics such as CPI-labor, critical ratio CPI, CPI by functional department, and ties it all to the most important metrics: expected project value and the DIPP Progress Index.)

"I know classical methods as critical path, PERT, EVM, etc., but I am open to read your method."

Unlike things like Critical Chain and SCRUM, Total Project Control (TPC) is completely based in the classical methods! (If it weren't, I don't think Mike Testro would ever speak to me -- and rightly so!)

TPC simply goes beyond the classical methods by:

  1. Extending the standard functionalities in WBS (VBS), CPM (critical path drag, drag cost, true cost, and the doubled resource estimated duration or DRED), and resource leveling (the cost of leveling with unresolved bottlenecks or the CLUB). All the techniques are already being used -- we just have to start squeezing the most valuable data out of them. Just as every project has a critical path, whether we choose to identify and plan it or not, so too every critical path activity and constraint has drag, drag cost and true cost -- we just have compute (or, as with Spider Project, have software that computes) those critical data items.
  2. Defining all projects as investments, showing both the importance of and techniques for planning (value/cost of time, quantification of the multiplied value of enabler projects, expected monetary value, the DIPP) and tracking them (accentuating the importance of cost ETC, DPI, drag on the ABCP), and pointing out how ignoring projects' investment value leads to the rather sorry state of much of project management currently.

"It's in english, so quite difficult to me, but I will try and I will give you a feed back on it, as an experimented project planner."

I will truly appreciate your feedback, and will be delighted to answer any questions right in this forum. My publisher CRC Press is currently thinking about what languages might be suitable for translation. I think they are currently leaning towards Japanese and Russian -- perhaps if you like the first  book, you can persuade them to do a French version of the new one. (My name should help in France -- every time I do a Google search on the terms "Devaux" and "project management", I seem to turn up lots of people of that name in France dans la fraternité du monde projet!).

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan (The Empress Josephine, born in Martinique, was a distant cousin of mine!)

Stephen Devaux
User offline. Last seen 17 hours 42 min ago. Offline
Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 623

Hi, Jean-Yves. How nice of you to buy my book!

Actually, I expect to find out within the next week that CRC Press wants to publish a new edition of it (probably re-titled something like Total Project Control: A Practitioner's Guide to Managing Projects as Investments). I could suggest that you wait and read my second book, Managing Projects as Investments: Earned Value to Business Value, which is supposed to be out in September. The new book is aimed more at a senior management audience, explaining why and how to manage projects as investments but only mentioning (without getting into "the weeds") things like WBS, VBS, forward and backward passes, free float, SS, FF, SF, lags/leads, reverse critical path and so on.

But with your strong background, you shouldn't have any trouble with the more detailed TPC book. (The new book also will have two earned value chapters, of which I'm quite proud. The first explains EVM, its strengths, weaknesses, and how to improve it. I think it's the most non-intimidating explanation of the subject that I've ever read, using golf scores as a metaphor. The second chapter explores the value of more advanced EVM metrics such as CPI-labor, critical ratio CPI, CPI by functional department, and ties it all to the most important metrics: expected project value and the DIPP Progress Index.)

"I know classical methods as critical path, PERT, EVM, etc., but I am open to read your method."

Unlike things like Critical Chain and SCRUM, Total Project Control (TPC) is completely based in the classical methods! (If it weren't, I don't think Mike Testro would ever speak to me -- and rightly so!)

TPC simply goes beyond the classical methods by:

  1. Extending the standard functionalities in WBS (VBS), CPM (critical path drag, drag cost, true cost, and the doubled resource estimated duration or DRED), and resource leveling (the cost of leveling with unresolved bottlenecks or the CLUB). All the techniques are already being used -- we just have to start squeezing the most valuable data out of them. Just as every project has a critical path, whether we choose to identify and plan it or not, so too every critical path activity and constraint has drag, drag cost and true cost -- we just have compute (or, as with Spider Project, have software that computes) those critical data items.
  2. Defining all projects as investments, showing both the importance of and techniques for planning (value/cost of time, quantification of the multiplied value of enabler projects, expected monetary value, the DIPP) and tracking them (accentuating the importance of cost ETC, DPI, drag on the ABCP), and pointing out how ignoring projects' investment value leads to the rather sorry state of much of project management currently.

"It's in english, so quite difficult to me, but I will try and I will give you a feed back on it, as an experimented project planner."

I will truly appreciate your feedback, and will be delighted to answer any questions right in this forum. My publisher CRC Press is currently thinking about what languages might be suitable for translation. I think they are currently leaning towards Japanese and Russian -- perhaps if you like the first  book, you can persuade them to do a French version of the new one. (My name should help in France -- every time I do a Google search on the terms "Devaux" and "project management", I seem to turn up lots of people of that name in France dans la fraternité du monde projet!).

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan (The Empress Josephine, born in Martinique, was a distant cousin of mine!)

Jean-Yves Moine
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago. Offline
Joined: 17 Jan 2009
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Hi Steve,

I bought your book "Total Project Control: A Manager's Guide to Integrated Project Planning, Measuring, and Tracking" this morning, on the web. I will get it in maybe 2 or 3 weeks because it comes from the USA. Curious to discover what is Total Project Control in detail and to see may be interactions with 3D WBS method. I know classical methods as critical path, PERT, EVM, etc., but I am open to read your method. It's in english, so quite difficult to me, but I will try and I will give you a feed back on it, as an experimented project planner. 

Dans la fraternité du monde projet, Jean-Yves

Jean-Yves Moine
User offline. Last seen 3 years 1 week ago. Offline
Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 87
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