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Decomposition and Project 2007

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

This article looks at how decomposition can work with Microsoft Project 2007.

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    Microsoft Project 2007 is an important and highly useful project management tool. Tasks are entered, charts are created and progress is monitored. It is no surprise to learn that decomposing the project can facilitate the entry of task information into Project 2007.

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    Step One: Decompose the Project

    Picture courtesy of Stock.xchng When using decomposition and Project 2007 together, the first step is to decompose the project deliverables into the work packages before approaching the program. By doing this, you are preparing the action items to be entered into the program with minimum effort. If you complete all the steps of decomposition outlined in the third part of this series, then your project will be completely ready to enter into the Project 2007 plan.

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    Step Two: Entering in Project Data

    Before entering the decomposed work projects into Project, make sure you have set up a project plan. For information on how to set up the plan, view my article, “Project 2007: How to Set up a Microsoft Project 2007 Plan." Once the plan has been set up, start with the first deliverable or milestone in the project. Enter in all of the task information from bottom to top – this will ensure that necessary dependencies are tracked. Once all the action-item information from all the deliverables and milestones has been entered into Project, enter in the estimated duration of each task. Remember from part five of this series that bottom-up estimation is a useful tool that goes hand-in-hand with decomposition.

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    Step Three: Allocating Resources

    If you haven't done so already, now is the time to allocate resources to the tasks. Tasks and work packages should be delegated evenly to the best suited resources. For more information on resource management and allocation, read Gary's article, "Employing Effective Resource Management at your Company."

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    Step Four: Create the WBS

    The Work Breakdown Structure is the ultimate goal in decomposition. Once all task information has been entered into Project 2007, you can create your work breakdown structure in the program. To do this, select the "Project" menu in the toolbar and then select WBS. When you do this, you will have the option of defining the WBS code or renumbering. Because you are entering the information into project for the first time, you will only be able to select "Define the WBS code." Once you select this, you can select the coding system to code each work package. Project 2007 will automatically code the tasks as instructed. For more information on how to create a WBS chart in Project 2007, see Deanna's article, "Project 2007: Defining the WBS."