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3D Work Breakdown Structure (3D WBS)

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Jean-Yves Moine
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Let’s talk about WBS !

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the heart of project management. All the project management disciplines described in the PMBOK turn around it.

I developed a theory about it: the 3D model or 3D WBS.

Simply, there are:
- Areas (GBS, Geographical Breakdown Structure), sections in the space, localizations on the site – I mean WHERE?;
- Products (PBS, Product Breakdown Structure), civil works components, equipments, materials – I mean WHAT?;
- and Activities (ABS, Activity Breakdown Structure), actions, processes – I mean HOW?.

There are 3 dimensions that describe the WORK. We can see it like one cube, in 3D. One time schedule task is a little 3D cube inside the WBS cube.

For instance in the construction phase, we construct/install (ABS) civil works components/equipments (PBS) somewhere (GBS). The WBS can be read in good English.

Products (PBS) are an extension of functional systems (SBS, System Breakdown Structure).

For the design and commissioning phases, we study (ABS) functional systems (SBS, System Breakdown Structure) that are supposed to be installed/constructed somewhere (GBS).

The V lifecycle of the project can be imagined. There are WBS cubes under each phase (level #1 of the ABS) of the project. We study (ABS) functional Systems (SBS) by big Areas (GBS), then we study (ABS) sub Systems (SBS) by more précises Areas (GBS) in the detail design phase (ABS), then we specify (ABS) Products (PBS), we do the procurement (ABS) of these product (PBS), and then we install/construct (ABS) the Products (PBS) somewhere (GBS) in the construction phase (ABS, level #1), and then we do the pre-commissioning (ABS) and commissioning (ABS) of sub Systems (SBS) and Systems (SBS) somewhere (GBS).

I write: WBS = GBS x PBS x ABS.

WBS is a crossing between these three breakdown structures. The time schedule task is at the last level of the WBS, included in it.

On time schedule Task is not an Activity, there is a difference between these two words.

In another hand, there is the ORGANIZATION which WORKS (OBS, Organization Breakdown Structure, project team, departments, services, disciplines, etc.). The OBS is extended by the Resources (RBS, Resources Breakdown Structure, engineers, technicians, tools, machines,etc.). I mean WHO?

WBS and OBS are crossed in a matrix. The crossing between them colors the 3D little cubes (tasks) inside the WBS cube. We obtain little cubes colored function of the Organization. It forms the fourth dimension. I name it cube “project cube”.

I write : Project cube = OBS x WBS = OBS x GBS x PBS x ABS.

The workpackages are in the crossing of the OBS and the WBS, with one responsible only.

Now we can discuss: we have a mathematical model of a project.

Let’s talk about the interfaces for instance… The more the distance between 3D little cubes (tasks) are shorts inside the project cube, the more the tasks are in interfaces, in anothers words, the more the interfaces are criticals. We can mathematically deduct interfaces of one project, simply by a little algorithm if the axis of the WBS cube are graduated (it supposes that the elementaries breakdown Structures that are projected on the axis of the cube have a chronology). There are four kinds of interfaces: Organizations (OBS), Areas (GBS), Product (PBS), and Activity (ABS) interfaces.

Let’s talk about the logical links of the time schedule for instance… If I take a Finish to Start link (FS), it exist four kinds of logical links : Organizations (OBS) (to be avoid in a time schedule), Areas (GBS), Products (PBS), and Activities (ABS) logical links.

To be noted that the CBS (Cost Breakdown Structure) is just the consolidation of the costs on the WBS. In a time schedule Products (PBS) are detailed in Activities (ABS) whereas in a CBS Activities (ABS) are detailed in Products (PBS). WBS and CBS have one cube in common, in the higher levels of the breakdown structures of the project cube.

To be noted that CWBS (Contract Work Breakdown Structure) in another WBS cube. There is the internal view of the project, and the external view.

Do you need one information? You want to know WHO does WHAT, HOW, WHEN and HOW MUCH or WHY, FOR WHAT? or HOW LONG? Just send a request to the project cube ! It will give you the answer.

Do you imagine 3D little cubes linked together, fixed in the project cube? It is the logical network of the time schedule, the PERT diagram in 3D, with critical paths, floats, costs...

Do you imagine all this project cube moving in the time and the space, with characterics/properties of the 3D little cubes (fixed in one position inside the project cube) that represent the variations vs the project baseline? This is the fifth dimension !

Do you imagine this new king of time schedule, in 3D, a kind of Rubik’s cube, Russians boxes or OLAP cube?

Of course the 3D WBS software does not exist today, it exists only in my head and on papers, in my books and articles. I have specified it. I have the ideas, not the petrol, but I dream about it…

What do you think about my theory?


Jean-Yves Moine
User offline. Last seen 3 years 37 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 17 Jan 2009
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Let’s talk about the instanciation of the products (PBSi) ! (one important notion of the 3D WBS model)

I defined the PBSi, Product Breakdown Structure instancied.

Before being installed/constructed somewhere (GBS), the product (PBS) must be instancied, to become unique, with a name.

For instance, you have to build two “viaducts”, this is the products. You instance (a kind of clonage) these products and they become “Viaduct #1” and “Viaduct #2”, they become uniques. It is the same family of products because the activities (ABS) deployed on it are the same to build the viaducts, in a planning point of view.

To be noted that the activities (ABS) are deployed on products (PBS) with an order number, this is the successors!

Now products instancied (PBSi) can be assigned in a location (GBS, area).

All the time schedule is defined in the WBS matrix, on a A3 page.

When my WBS matrix is filled, I can create a 3000 tasks time schedule in 2 seconds !
Without entering datas in the software. An algorithm analyses all the correspondences and generates all the time schedule tasks, scheduled (linked), with codification and durations, ready to be impoted automatically into the planning software (PRIMAVERA P6, MS PROJECT, ASTA, SPIDER, etc.).
I have already planned quikcly and well a lot of huge EPC project with this methodology and my VBA EXCEL tool.

Jean-Yves Moine
User offline. Last seen 3 years 37 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 87
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