March 2014 Exam
Q1 (a) Explain the purpose of a work breakdown structure (WBS) and describe the levels that may be found in a typical WBS (13 marks)
WBS is a hierarchical and incremental decomposition of the project into phases, deliverables and work packages. It is a tree structure, which shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective; for example a program, project, and contract. 
Creating a work breakdown structure is a vital tool for improving project planning and helping to track a project’s progress. The documents main purpose is to capture all of the activities that will need to be carried out in order to complete the work, and list these in a methodical way with assignment of responsibility for each task. It is not an exhaustive list of work, but instead a comprehensive classification of project scope. It specifies what will be done, not how or when.
A common approach to the development of the WBS:
Level 1: Phase
Level 2: Project Deliverables and related milestones
Level 3: Activities
Level 4: Tasks
Level 1 will be an outline of the scope of the project. The scope can be seen as various key phases of work e.g. 1.0 Design, 2.0 Development, 3.0 Quality Assurance
Level 2 will break down the project in to measurable units or deliverables which will allow an estimation of the resources (such as time and personnel) required in completing each of these work packages. E.g. 1.1 Web User Interface, 2.1 Web front end. As Level 2 of the WBS will refer to milestones or points of time in the project which identify completion of a significant segment, they can be used to track the progress of the project that can then also be linked to interim payments made to contractors or suppliers.
Level 3 will then consist of the activities; these will be more detailed assignments that have to be completed within each of the level 2 units. E.g. 1.1.1 Create functional specifications
Level 4 breaks down the activities in Level 3 into detailed tasks e.g 126.96.36.199 Create user interface mock up.
Q1 (b )Describe FOUR aspects of a poor management practice that can lead to project failure
Michael Greer provides 14 key principles for success in project management, and in contrast also provides a checklist for factors that may lead to project failure.
Four of these principles that are aspects of poor management practice that can result in project failure are detailed below:
1. Don’t bother prioritising the organisation’s overall project load
One of the key principles in succeeding in a project is to plan thoroughly from the outset, with a plan that is revised on an ongoing process to take into consideration factors that will have an impact on the delivery of the project. If this project is no longer a high priority and all resources are stretched it will lead to the failure of the project as tasks are not complete on time and the project becomes a drain on resources.
2. Encourage project sponsors and key stakeholders to take a passive role on the project team
It is important that project sponsors take an active role on the project team as ultimately the responsibility of approving tasks sits with them and they should therefore be aware of the