Work Packages are a way for the Project Manager to group work activities together and assign work to a team or Team Manager to produce one or more products. A Work Package is therefore a set of information about one or more required products. A Work Package can contain the following: a Work Package description, product descriptions, techniques to be used, tolerances, date of agreement between PM and TM, how the TM will report to the PM, and Quality information.
The purpose of a Work Package is to provide a set of information about one or more required products collated by the Project Manager to pass responsibility for work or delivery formally to a Team Manager or team member.
Timeline Work Packages
- As you can see, Work Packages are in DARK RED
- They are mainly used in the Controlling a Stage process
- They are used by the Team Manager and Team Members
- Note: Work Packages can also be created in the Initiation Stage if the Controlling a Stage process is used in the Initiation Stage.
Sample Work Package
- This sample is taken from the PEN Sample Project and it gives a good simple example of a Work Package
- Description: The description may include a link to Product Descriptions
- Interface: This about people interfaces; e.g., who can the Team Manager talk to if any questions
- Tolerances: There is ZERO tolerance accepted in this example
- Reporting requirements: The Project Managers wants to have a verbal update twice a day
- Problem Handling and escalation: How issues will be escalated
- Approval method: This may also be described in the Product Descriptions
Source data for the Work Package
- The main contents of a Work Package are the Product Descriptions
- The rest is derived from any existing commercial agreements between the customer and supplier (if appropriate)
- Quality Management Approach
- Change Control Approach
- Stage Plan
Format of the Work Package
- Document contract
- PowerPoint file like about with links to Product Descriptions
- Oral conversation between the Project Manager and a Team Manager (perhaps not a good idea to a Team Manager)
Internal team members reporting the Project Manager: The Work Package may be an oral instruction but its still a good idea to write down to avoid misunderstanding.
External supplier: There is a need for a formal written instruction in line with standards laid down in that contract, so each Work Package is an agreed contract.
Quality Criteria for Work Package
- The Work Package is well defined and understood by the Team Manager / team members
- A baselined Product Description exists for each required product, with clearly identified and acceptable quality criteria
- Acceptable standards for the work are agreed
- All necessary people interfaces have been defined to the Team Manager knows who to contact
- How raising issues and risks will be escalated
- There is agreement on the constraints, including effort, cost and targets
- The dates and effort are in line with those shown in the Stage Plan for the current management stage
- Reporting arrangements are defined including the format and frequency (e.g., Checkpoint Report)
Tips from Frank
- The contents of the Work Package should come as no big surprise to the Team Manager as they helped the Project Manager create the Stage Plan and gave feedback on the Product Descriptions contained in the Work Package.
- You can use a simple one-page document for the Work Package, this acts like a cover over a number of Product Descriptions.
- Focus on meeting the quality criteria listed in the Product Descriptions.