Doing WORK PACKAGE is "grueling work", and there is a tendency to avoid it. Look closely at the output of a work package. Lets discuss the value of the information gathered for a work package, and...

Doing WORK PACKAGE is "grueling work", and there is a tendency to avoid it. Look closely at the output of a work package. Lets discuss the value of the information gathered for a work package, and the process of gathering the information. Do you think doing this is over-kill? Can a project be successful with or without it? Can you do project control effectively with or without work packages? 

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The value of a “work package” varies greatly depending upon the type of business, scale of activity, and complexity of the project.  The concept of a work package is simple; the execution can be daunting.  Any business decision requires the accumulation and assessment of information relevant to the undertaking.  Again, depending upon the type and scale of project, the amount and type of information required to make an informed decision and to execute a project plan efficiently can vary greatly.  Avoiding the task is rarely wise.  Refining the scale of a work package, however, is always wise.

The importance of a work package generally increases in direct proportion to the number of steps and teams involved in the project’s conceptualization and execution.  Each team involved needs to know precisely what’s expected of it, and how it will be resourced.  Each team or individual in the absence of teams should sketch out his or her plan clearly setting forth his or her responsibilities and tasks, and a timeline for completion of each phase of the operation.  This way, the project or program manager can put together a realistic (hopefully) diagram or table that will reflect the entirety of the project with clearly-delineated lines of responsibility and chains of command.  This is the minimum that should be included in a work package.  Whether the final package is useful is a product of the integrity of the process by which it was put together – in effect, are cost and time estimates realistic – and the degree of clarity it reflects.

A work package can constitue a sort of “overkill” if it includes a wealth of data and information the practical utility of which is minimal.  The final diagram (examples of which are available by conducting and Internet search using the phrase “work package”’ see, for example,,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNHVKRNN6QYd79ZPJwgfBq3iBKdo9A&ust=1425400690434470) can be basic and straightforward or, in the case of certain technically and administratively complicated projects, can be difficult for the layman to comprehend (see, for example,,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNEwkLsxU92w8-EVAMxidEh0EwMYEg&ust=1425399870576606). 

Whether an individual work package constitutes ‘more than enough’ detail and information is case-dependent, but certainly some such packages can appear excessive.  Whether a project can ultimately be successful with a work package is, again, dependent upon the scale of the project.  The simpler and less involved the project, the less necessary the work package.  A project involving a small number of individuals and no teams beyond that small group may not require a work package; it very likely will, however, still require some sort of similar chart or diagram detailing individual responsibilities and schedules.  Work packages are useful in ensuring that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when, and enables the manager to better track progress towards completion.

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