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Reply To: Book recommendation for project teamwork

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#407518

Bjorn;
I can’t recommend a specific book, but I will strongly recommend using the Project Based Planning approach from Prince2 as a technique for breaking down project deliverables into smaller, more easily managed/estimated products. You can find a lot of information about Prince2 on the Web.
In simplest terms Product Based Planning (PBP) is a technique used to break the project end product (final deliverable) down into smaller products. It creates a Product Breakdown Structure. For example, a Car (end product) is comprised of a body, an interior, a frame, an engine, a drive train. The interior is comprised of seats, dashboard, carpet, etc. Basically you’re building an org chart if you will of product deliverables. Reading it bottom up, you can then say that I need these 10 products to make the parent product, and so on. It’s a nice visual way to see missing scope. For example, when looking at the car body, someone might notice it’s missing doors. It also helps to see where scope is mis-aligned. Meaning, someone might ask why the product to produce the car doors is under the Engine since we don’t need a car door to assemble an engine.
Project teams pick up on it quickly and it creates a great graphic that sponsors and management can understand at a glance. From an estimating perspective, you then only estimate the simple products, which are the products with no children.

The second part of this process is the Product Description. A written document (for example) that describes the product. The objective of these documents is to ensure that the entire team has the same definition of each product…which is key to consistent estimating.

The third art of the Prince2 approach is a Product Flow diagram in which you map the relationship of the simple products from the Product Breakdown Structure into a work flow. For example, product A must be completed before Product B can start.

With these three parts of Prince2, you can effectively create your project deliverables, the project schedule WBS (the Product Breakdown Structure) and the first draft of project schedule dependencies (product flow).

We’ve been using this for 7 years now and the teams/sponsors love it. Its also significantly reduced the amount by which projects exceed estimates due to missed scope.
I know this is not a recommended book, but I hope it helps! I’m sure there are Prince2 books out there somewhere.