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Use of Verbs and Nouns

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  • #5253 Reply

    Can someone explain the concept of verbs and nouns as used in the schedule?

    #6969 Reply

    Here is what I would recommend regarding language use in a schedule (and this is the recommendation in Eric’s book – Forecast Scheduling)

    Summary Tasks – if a deliverable – using a noun, eg location, design.  If it represents a phase, use the present continuous tense (-ing), eg Researching, Remodelling.

    Detail tasks – present tense of the verb – eg design artwork, approve recipe, define standards

    Milestones.  deliverable and past tense, eg  testing completed, recipe formulated.

    For my part, using the right language helps remove ambiguity from the the WBS which helps us all, especially when tasks are reviewed in isolation without the rest of the WBS to provide strucutre, as can happen in a filtered view, a report, or in Project Web Access (eg My Tasks).

    Regards,  Ben.


    #6973 Reply

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    I’ll add two other references to Ben’s great response:

    1. Effective Work Breakdown Structures by Haugan

    2. Work Breakdown Structures by Norman, Brotherton, and Fried

    I’ve found both of these helpful.  Both cover the use of nouns and verbs in the WBS and schedule, and both discuss the advantages Ben mentioned in using nouns to clearly describe WBS deliverables and present-tense verbs to describe the detail schedule activities required to produce the deliverables.


    Tim Jones

    #6974 Reply


    Keeping it short and succinct. (KISS):

    Use a verb to state the action to be accomplished in the time span (not date) shown, e.g. Design ABC, Build ABC, Test ABC, etc. Note that Design, Build, Test (as used here) are verbs.

    Be sure to assign the name of the group, or better yet, the person, responsible for the needed action (verb) on the schedule.

    Use a noun to state the name of an event that is to be accomplished on the date (not span) scheduled, e.g. Design Start, Critical Design Review, Report Review, etc. Note that Design, Critical Design , Report (as used here) are nouns.

    Remember, people will do what is expected of them, but they need to be told what is expected and when it is expected, as well as other needed requirements.  The telling needs to be in witing to be as clear as possible and preclude having to state, ” I know you heard what I said, but do you understand what I meant?”.

    #9663 Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with Eric’s recommendations on the use of correct word types for task titles.  This is a great approach to get beginners thinking clearly about project planning.

    #315384 Reply
    Scott Brunton

    Consider the following as structure:

    <Adjective> demonstrates degree of maturity
    <Noun> demonstrates the End Item
    <Verb1> demonstrates the step in the process
    <Verb2> demonstrates the final status

    For example: <Preliminary><Models and Simulation><Design><Complete>

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