35 Deliverables vs. Work Packages

Deliverables vs. Work Packages

Deliverables and sub-deliverables are things such as physical objects, software code, or events. In a WBS, deliverables and sub-deliverables are represented by nouns (see Figure 5-2). Work packages are assignable units of work that will be performed to create the related deliverable. A work package can be assigned to one particular project team member, one outside contractor, or another team. The work packages maybe further broken down into activities or tasks by the project team or the experts who will perform that work (see WBS dictionary later in this section).

Work packages are action oriented and will be represented by phrases containing verbs (see Figure 5-2). The cost of a deliverable is the sum of all of its related sub-deliverables.

In Figure 5-2, the cost of the Walls deliverable is the sum of the Stud Walls and the Electrical sub-deliverables ($17,740 + $3,680 = $21,420). Likewise, the cost of a sub-deliverable is a summary of all of the work packages that must be completed to complete the sub-deliverable.

In Figure 5-2, the cost and duration of the Stud Walls deliverable is a sum of all the related work packages ($3,840 + $1,340 + $2,000 +$10,560 = $17,740; 24hrs + 8hrs + 24hrs + 32hrs = 88hrs).

Since the WBS provides a natural way to summarize (or “rollup”) the costs and labor involved for various sub deliverables, it also provides the project team with the information need to determine whether some deliverables would be better performed by an outside specialist who could deliver the item or service more cost-effectively.

Work Breakdown Structure example
Figure 5‑2: WBS for New Warehouse Project

In the example in Figure 5-2, if the project manager can find a roofing contractor that complete the roof in less than 15 days (120 hours) and for less than $18,440, then it would be better to outsource that part of the project.

Note that work packages are independent of each other in a WBS, and do not summarize or include the work from other work packages. Work packages are the lowest level of the WBS.

Components of this chapter come from:


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