Interview with Angela, Project Management and Work Breakdown Structure in a nutshell

I’ve recently interviewed Carpet Cleaning Richmond and their newly assigned manager Angela, since it’s an annual requirement for me.

We’ve talked about their business, interests and projections for 2017… Pretty exciting I must say.

Angela, has been with the company for almost 2 months now and her background is in construction.

Interesting thing though… She’s been running the company and making some changes, to operate more as if they were working on projects rather than cleaning carpets, and the owners are quite happy. If things continue to move the way they have been for the past month, the company’s looking at 25% growth in 2017, but you never know.

Here’s what I summed up from this interview and from Angela


Project scope management is defined as the management process that takes place to ensure that a project and its process is successful. It is created by also taking into consideration the needs of the stakeholders and the determination of needs.


When referring to the term scope in project management; it is defined as the set of requirements and details that are needed for a project.


The main processes performed as part of a project scope management, consists of the following three stages:


  1. Initiating: This is the very first step prior to beginning the actual planning process. Various actions such as brain-storming, interviewing, benchmarking, observation, surveys and participation in focused groups; takes place.


  1. Planning: The planning process consists of a rough draft of what needs to be accomplished, expectations as to how it will be accomplished by defining objectives, who will the participants be, what will be needed to make the project happen within an allotted time and budget frame and the creation of a statement of work (SOW) broken down into smaller structures (WBS). This step is also usually done in the form of a “fish bone” as it allows an easy mental map that includes a timeline.


  1. Executing: The execution process is when the drafted plan begins to take physical place and action. In this step, adjustments and changes might be necessary.


  1. Controlling & Monitoring: In this stage there is close observation of the project scope development. Adjustments are refined, processes are reconsidered and the project is slowly being molded to fit requirements and meet standards. Leadership plays an important roll in project scope management, but particularly in this stage as WBS (work break down structure) is likely to take place if it hasn’t already.


  1. Closing: The closing process is the final stage that takes place in project scope management. It consists of reviewing the outcome of the project and comparing it against the initial project plan. In this stage a thorough audit of both the project and products is performed. Detailed reports that include financial statements, project scheduling, weather and other impediments, difficulties, outcomes etc. is created.


Work Breakdown Structure (WBS):

A work breakdown structure (WBS), is the breakdown of a statement of work (SOW) into smaller structures. In other words, it includes very specific details and outlines of each of the projects’ scope. This is done for the purpose of identifying needs, obstacles, details and specifications of each individual project phase.

In order to achieve an effective WBS, the following approaches amongst others, must be considered:


  • Each level must include the main element along with two element breakdowns.
  • It should be constructed in a timeline order where priority tasks are listed first.
  • Is updated in accordance with changes created by management.
  • Describes the full scope of the project and detailed descriptions with regards to developing it and with regards to the products involved.
  • Should be created by keeping stakeholders needs in mind.
  • Should describe and define the boundaries of the project.
  • Should include a detailed decomposition of the work to be performed
  • Should include a word reference or dictionary that outlines and explains the terms used in the project management scope.


The WBS can be created using different formats: Outline, tree, tabular or hierarchical.


Importance of developing a good WBS:

The successful outcome of a project is influenced by the organization and the planning that is given before, during and after the project. Executing plans in writing by breaking them down into even smaller planning processes, allows for a better understanding of the projects scope and for better communication between team members, Foremost it eliminates or narrows down error margins and subsequently make for a more successful project.