Title of Invention

A PROCESS FOR GENERATING A PROJECT WORKING BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE AND LIMITED WORK FLOWS

Abstract The present invention provides a process and system for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and related work flows, comprising the steps of selecting an existing project WBS, said existing project WBS having related work flows; selecting at least one desired outcome for synthesis, said at least one selected desired outcome having a first associated work flow comprising a network of interdependent activities; and synthesizing and first associated work flow with said existing project WBS and its related work flows by. (c1) identifying the most downstream activity in said first associated work flow; (c2) determinging whether each activity in said frst associated work flow is already present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated by starring with the most downstream activity in said first associated work flow and working upstream until all activities in said first associate work flow have been compared to the activities of the project WBS and related work flows being generated; (c3) adding any activity in said first associated work flow which is not already present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated; (c4) adding activity dependencies which should exist between any of said added activities and any activity already present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated; and (c5) introducing summary activities, when required, into the project WBS being generated when lowest-level activities from said first associated work flow are added. (Figure 1)
Full Text METHOD, PROCESS AND SYSTEM FOR OPTIMIZED
OUTCOME DRIVEN WORKFLOW SYNTHESIS AND
REDUCTION
This application claims the benefit of Provisional Applications 60/187,481
filed on 7 March, 2000 and 60/198,915 filed on 20 April 2000.
FIELD OF INVENTION:
This invention relates to intelligent project planning and execution and to
optimized project planning procedures.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION:
Project planning is a discipline focused on determining, structuring, and
scheduling the minimum work necessary to produce the outcomes defined for the
scope of the project in the least amount of time under known constraints (e.g.,
resource availability, regulatory requirements, etc.).
Planning complex projects often requires the synthesis, scheduling, and
coordination of the activities of many individuals having expertise in distinct
disciplines or professions.
In most cases, each discipline or profession will have developed, and formally
documented, a body of knowledge that is considered to express its best practices.
Generally, each body of knowledge will describe proven and optimal approaches used
to achieve specific outcomes associated with the discipline or profession (e.g., the
extraction of a wisdom tooth by a dental surgeon, or the design of a user interface for
a computer software application by a software engineer).
The approaches described are typically represented in the body of knowledge
as a series of interdependent activities.
Combining the activities from more than one body of knowledge into a
coherent and optimal whole, as represented by a project work breakdown structure
(WBS) and work flow, to satisfy the set of outcomes anticipated by the scope of the
project can be daunting, given that the project planner must rationalize, synthesize,
and set dependencies between hundreds or thousands of discrete activities from the
bodies of knowledge involved, without having the benefit of expertise in all of the
disciplines or professions.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention comprises a method, process and system for synthesizing an
optimized process flow, an activity abstraction hierarchy and an instruction set that
represents the minimal work to produce at least one outcome. An embodiment of this
invention utilizes a single set of non-redundant activities and activity dependencies,
which has already been derived from an organization's current processes and
procedures, to produce an optimized work flow with respect to the desired outcomes
for a project. To accomplish this, the conditional execution requirements of each
activity required to produce a specified outcome are recursively examined to identify
the set of activities which must be completed to arrive at the outcome. Starting with
the last of these activities, a determination is made as to whether the activity is already
present in the subject project work plan. If the activity is not present, but should be, it
is inserted into its correct position in the project's work breakdown structure and is
linked into the work flow for each predecessor and successor activity already present
in the project's work breakdown structure. Working upstream along the process chain
from that identified last activity, the process of activity insertion/positioning and work
flow linking continues until all activities in the process chain of the outcome have
been considered for insertion. Higher level summary activities are also introduced into
the project's work breakdown structure as the lowest-level activities are inserted by
referencing a designated work breakdown structure template.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the
advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in
conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of the outcome-driven
work planning system;
Figure 2 shows the entity relationship diagram for an embodiment of the
planning system data repository;
Figure 3a is a flow chart illustrating the first part of the outcome-driven work
flow synthesis process;
Figure 3b is a flow chart illustrating the second part of the outcome-driven
work flow synthesis process;
Figure 4a is a flow chart illustrating the first part of the outcome-driven work
flow reduction process;
Figure 4b is a flow chart illustrating the second part of the outcome-driven
work flow reduction process;
Figure 4c is a flow chart illustrating shows the third part of the outcome-
driven work flow reduction process;
Figure 5 a is an exemplary WBS Template that is populated with sample data
that is used as the "controlling WBS" in the examples of the Outcome-Driven Work
Flow Synthesis and Reduction Processes;
Figure 5b is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following first execution of step 4.1;
Figure 5c is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following second execution of step 4.1;
Figure 5d is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following third execution of step 4.1;
Figure 5e is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following fourth execution of step 4.1;
Figure 5f is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following fifth execution of step 4.1;
Figure 5g is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following sixth execution of step 4.1;
Figure 6a is an exemplary project WBS and work flow for all outcomes within
the scope of the controlling WBS used in examples 1 and 2 of the outcome-driven
work flow synthesis process;
Figure 6b is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following first execution of step 4.1;
Figure 6c is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following second execution of step 4.1;
Figure 6d is an exemplary project WBS and work flow that is populated with
sample data following third execution of step 4.1;
Figure 7a shows an exemplary project WBS and work flow used as the
starting point for Example 3: Outcome-Driven Work Flow Reduction Process (i.e.,
before the reduction of Outcome 02);
Figure 7b shows an exemplary project WBS and work flow resulting from the
execution of procedure 5 from Example 3: Outcome-Driven Work Flow Reduction
Process.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The following description is of the best mode presently contemplated for
carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but
is merely made for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention.
The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.
This mode may be characterized as a rule-based approximation, synthesis, and
reduction approach. The planner may start synthesis and reduction with either an
empty plan or with a plan that approximates the anticipated final work breakdown
structure and work flow required for the scope of the project being planned. The
approximation can be chosen from a set of known and useful "stock" plans. A "stock"
plan is a previously constructed work breakdown structure (WBS) and work flow
(with component activities linked to appropriate instructional content), which have
proven useful on past projects. Each stock plan describes the work necessary to
achieve one or more outcome. In the synthesis and reduction approach one develops
a custom work flow by synthesizing the work flows necessary to achieve desired
outcomes not present in the plan and by de-synthesizing, or reducing, the plan's work
flows by removing activities that are solely required for outcomes which are currently
present in the plan, but which are not wanted.
A process and system is disclosed to assist work planners by assembling a
work breakdown structure (WBS) and work flow for a project based on the explicit
selection or de-selection of outcome(s) by a work planner from a defined set of
possible outcomes. The process and system ensure that the resulting project WBS and
work flow is composed of the minimum set of activities required to produce the set of
outcomes desired for the project.
The process and system further ensure that the project's activities are
organized into an activity hierarchy defined by a WBS template designated by the
work planner, and that each of the project's activities is linked into an appropriate
work flow, supported by appropriate instructional content.
In cases where the projects undertaken require different sets of outcomes, and
where the work needed for one outcome may satisfy some or all of the work needed
for another outcome, the determination of a rigorously optimized WBS and work flow
to produce a desired set of outcomes (where hundreds or thousands of work steps are
involved)is not typically feasible.
The present embodiment leverages the manufacturing and information
technology principles of interchangeable/reusable components by recognizing that a
single, non-redundant set of activities and activity dependencies can be derived from
multiple formally documented bodies of knowledge and that this set of activities and
activity dependencies can be used to assemble optimized project work breakdown
structures (WBSs) and work flows based on the work planner's selection and/or de-
selection of outcomes to be achieved by the project being planned.
In this context, an "optimized" WBS and work flow for a project means a
WBS and work flow that is composed of the minimum set of activities necessary to
produce the set of outcomes desired by the project.
The outcome-driven work flow synthesis process provides a system and
method for the work planner or other user to implement the following:
1) View the available WBS templates;
2) View outcomes within and outside of the scope of each WBS template;
3) Choose and transmit a "controlling " WBS template selection;
4) Choose and transmit one or more selected outcome for synthesis;
5) View the resulting WBS and work flow; and
6) Link each activity in the activity hierarchy represented by a project's
WBS with the appropriate instructional content.
The outcome-driven work flow reduction process provides a system and
method for the work planner or other user to do the following:
l)View the outcomes currently resulting from an existing project 's WBS and
work flow;
2)Choose and transmit a selected outcome for removal from the WBS and
work flow;
3)View the resulting project WBS and work flow.
Taken together, the outcome-driven synthesis and reduction processes provide
work planners with the ability to construct and tailor work breakdown structures and
work flows, supported by relevant activity descriptions (i. e., instructional content), by
simply considering and selecting the outcomes that the project is intended to achieve.
The following terminology is grouped together here as a lexicon for use in
describing embodiments of the invention.
Activity -a specific unit of work
Elementary Activity -the smallest unit of work that produces a meaningful
result for the project.
Elementary Activity Dependency -An association between two elementary
activities such that an execution of the first results in a state, or set of conditions,
required by the second. The state resulting from the execution of an elementary
activity is called a post-condition. The state required by a dependent elementary
activity is called a "pre-condition".
Instructional Content Page -a document (e. g., an HTML document)used to
describe the purpose or intent of, and approach to, the conduct of an activity. Each
instructional content page may contain formatted text, graphics, and hyperlinks to
related instructional content
Non-Elementary Activity -a named grouping of lower-level activities (non-
elementary or elementary)that serves as an abstraction of its subordinate activities.
Object Class -a type of person, place, thing, concept, event, association, or
condition for which information (in the form of attribute values and relationships)
may be saved and upon which operations (actions)may be performed-
Outcome -a defined result of a process (e. g., a manufactured part or final
product, an architectural drawing, a conceptual model, a decision made, a judgement
rendered, a presentation delivered, a state of being achieved).
Project -an organized undertaking to produce or accomplish one or more
desired outcome from a set of possible outcomes.
Project Activity -represents the use of an elementary activity or non-
elementary activity by a project.
Project Activity Dependency -represents the use of an elementary activity
dependency in the workflow for a project.
Project Planning -a discipline focused on determining, structuring, and
scheduling the minimum work necessary to produce the outcome(s) defined for the
scope of the project in the least amount of time under known constraints (e. g.,
resource availability, regulatory requirements).
WBS Activity -defines the use and positioning (i. e., vertical positioning and
indention level) of an activity in a WBS template.
WBS Template -a named hierarchical structure used as a. pattern for
organizing project activities into a work breakdown structure (WBS).
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)-a hierarchy of project activities used to
view and manage the work of a project at different levels of abstraction.
Work Flow -a network of interdependent elementary activities that terminates
in the elementary activity associated with the production of an outcome.
. This workflow development process is designed for use on large-scale
projects, including analysis of business strategies, such as where to go with new
product development, or reorganization of a large-scale enterprise (e.g. large
corporation). Therefore, the results of the workflow development process must be
without error and must be capable of handling inputs from disparate sources, e.g., in a
corporation, from a research and development unit or division, a manufacturing unit
or division, a human resources unit or units, an upper management oversight unit and
a reorganization plan (simultaneously with a reorganization of the corporation for
carrying out the major project). The workflow development must be done in a
manner such that the risk to the enterprise utilizing the work flow development
process must be minimized,' as well as to the risk to a consulting company providing
guidance with its work flow development process. For example, a work plan
development process, if it were applied to the development of the B-2 Bomber, would
have entailed the reorganization of a corporation to have a whole new large division,
staffing such a division, having ongoing research and development input, designing
the aircraft with thousands and thousands of specifications and requirements, a
manufacturing unit, again with thousands of documented procedures, test units with
thousands of tests and test documentation, acceptance tests procedures and manuals
for the Air Force. These are extremely complex processes and the costs may be
100's of billions of dollars
However, it would be desirable to have a system which, in addition to the rule
based structure, has an additional element or aspect which allows the work breakdown
structure of the flow of the work, in the execution of the project, to be optimized.
Now, there are potentially a number of different ways of optimizing the work
breakdown structure, that is, the flowcharts detailing how the work needs to be done.
In this embodiment, one may start with a previously developed project plan that is
considered to be similar to the plan required for the anticipated project. However, the
planner may find that desired outcomes are not included in the "stock" plan, and so
adds them. That is, one selects one or more outcomes for synthesis. Consequently,
the work flow for the selected outcome is synthesized into the current work plan.
Similarly, irrelevant outcomes may be present, so the planner subtracts them. Many
interdependent elementary activities may be involved in achieving the various
outcomes. Adding or removing an outcome requires the readjustment of the project's
work flow and work breakdown structure. One may also start with an empty plan,
i.e., a plan with no outcomes, and add outcomes to that empty plan.
Figure 1 shows a computer-based system where RAM 12 and ROM 14 are
shown. Other components of a computer-based system are shown including a central
processing unit (CPU) 16, a video display unit 18, a communications port 20, an
intermediate server 22, a remote web server 24 and a local web server 26. The data
storage repository 28 includes Activities 30, Objects 32, Outcomes 34, Projects 36,
Instructional Contents 38 and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Templates 40.
Figure. 2 shows the Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) for the Exemplary
Planning System Data Repository. Terms having all letters capitalized (e. g.,
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58) refer to Figure. 2. Definition of terms are listed in
the lexicon, above.
The OBJECTS subject area 42 contains OBJECT CLASS 44, which is the
subject of one or more OBJECT EFFECT 48 in the ACTTVITrES subject area 46.
Each OBJECT EFFECT 48 always results from one ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58.
Each ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 always is a component of one NON-
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 56 and may be identified as successor or predecessor
on one or more ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 50. In the
OUTCOMES subject area 60, each OUTCOME 62 is produced by an
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58. In the PROJECT WBS/WORK FLOWS subject
area 64, the PROJECT 70 is composed of one or more PROJECT ACTIVITY 68,
which may be identified as a predecessor or successor on one or more PROJECT
ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 66. Each PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 may correspond to
an ACTIVITY 52 which comprises ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 and NON-
ELEMENTARY ACTTvITY 56. The INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT subject area
72 contains CONTENT PAGE 74 which may be referenced by one or more WBS
ACTIVITY 80 which is in the WBS TEMPLATES subject area 76. Each WBS
ACTIVITY 80 always references one ACTIVITY 52 and may override one or more
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 50. Each WBS TEMPLATE 78 may
provide a controlling WBS for one or more PROJECTS 70.
Outcome-Driven Work Flow Synthesis Process
This pro ss is initiated when the work planner at step 96 (Figure 3a) confirms
one or more OUTCOMES 62 to be produced/achieved by his or her PROJECT
70. This process will introduce all needed ACTIVTrYs 58, 56 into the
PROJECT 70, as PROJECT ACTlYITYs 68, to form an appropriate WBS and
workflow. Each PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 will also be linked to the
INSTRUCTIONAL CONTENT PAGE 74 that is appropriate for the
controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78 selected by the Work Planner. The choice of
the WBS TEMPLATE 78 sets the context for the PROJECT 70.
For each OUTCOME 62 selected by the Work Planner from the set of possible
OUTCOMES 60, perform the following procedures:
Procedure 1: From the Planning Data Repository, at step 98 (Figure 3a) the
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 is selected that produces the OUTCOME 62
(selected in step 96) the Work Planner wishes to add to his or her PROJECT
70.
The selected ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 will be the last point, or node, in
the work flow that results in the OUTCOME 62. The last node 94 in a work
flow is commonly referred to as the "terminal", or "most-downstream" node.
As an example,
denotes ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY; and
where
of the five ELEMENTARY ACTIVITIES shown, the one furthest downstream,
i.e., in the direction indicated by the downstream arrow, is the terminal node
94.
Procedure 2: At step 100 (Figure 3 a) determine whether the ELEMENTARY
ACTIVITY 58 selected in step 98 has already been included in the PROJECT 70 as a
PROJECT ACTIVITY 68. If it has been included, then at step 150 select the next
desired OUTCOME 62. If it is found, return to step 98. If it is not found, end the
process, at step 152. If it has not already been included, insert an entry into the Node
Processing Table 114 at step 102 representing the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58, as
illustrated in the sample table below, and then continue.

The columns in the Node Processing Table (NPT) 114 (Figures 3a, 3b) are
defined as follows: "Entry Seq #" records the insertion order, or sequence, of entries
(i. e., rows) in the Node Processing Table. "Node ID" records the unique identifier
for an ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 that participates as a node in the OUTCOME
's 62 workflow. "Grouping Indicator" indicates whether the ELEMENTARY
ACnVITY 58 is classified as a "grouping" activity. A grouping activity is one that
collects, or groups, other OUTCOMES 62. Grouping activities are treated in a
specialized way in the Outcome-Driven Work Flow Synthesis Process. "Processed
Indicator" indicates whether all processing related to the node has been completed.
This column is set to "N" when entries are inserted into the table, and is changed to
"Y" when all processing related to the node has been completed. The column
"Removal Indicator" is not used for Outcome-Driven Work Flow Synthesis. Instead,
tiiis column is used in the Outcome-Driven Work Flow Reduction process. The
default value for this column is "N".
Procedure 3:. At step 104 the first entry in the Node Processing Table 114 is
selected. As discussed above, this entry will identify the most downstream node 94.
Procedure 4: Perform the following procedures 4.1 through 4.4 (Figure 3b)
until all nodes have been processed:
Procedure 4.1: At step 106 (Figure 3b) a PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 record is
inserted, corresponding to the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 referenced by the
current node being processed, into the PROJECT 70 by performing the Activity
Insertion, Positioning, and Content Linking process (described below).
Procedure 4.2: If the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 referenced by the
current node being processed at step 108 (Figure 3b) is not classified as a "grouping"
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 (i. e., the Grouping Indicator in the Node Processing
Table ="N"), then at step 110 (Figure 3b) select its relevant upstream nodes. At step
112 (Figure 3b) insert an entry into the Node Processing Table for each relevant
upstream node that is not already determined to be in the Node Processing Table 114
at step 154. For purposes of this step a "relevant upstream node " is defined as an
ELEMENTARY ACTTVLTY 58 that is identified as a predecessor of the
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 referenced by the current node by an instance of
ELEMENTARY ACTrVLTY DEPENDENCY 50 where the following criteria are
satisfied:
(1) If the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 corresponding to the most
downstream node is within the scope of the controlling WBS (i. e., it is
referenced by a WBS ACTIVITY 80 that is a component of the controlling
WBS TEMPLATE 78) then the candidate predecessor must also be referenced
by a WBS ACTVITY 80 that is a component of the controlling WBS
TEMPLATE 78.
This criterion ensures that PROJECT ACTIVITYs 68 included in a PROJECT
70 are limited to those that correspond to an ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 that is
explicitly included in the controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78 (i. e., is within the scope
boundary established by the controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78).
(2) The ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 50 identifying the
candidate predecessor must not be overridden by a WBS ACTIVITY 80 for
the controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78 associated with the current node, if one
exists; and
(3) A PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to the candidate predecessor
must not already exist for the PROJECT 70.
Procedure 4.3: At step 116 (Figure 3b) set the Processed Indicator for the
current node to "Y" in the Node Processing Table. This also pertains to grouping
ELEMENTARY ACIVITIES from step 108.
Procedure 4.4: At 118 select the next unprocessed node in the Node
Processing Table (i. e., lowest entry sequence number where the Processed Indicator
="N") - this is referred to as the "current node " in the subsequent steps. If an
unprocessed node is found, repeat the processing starting back at step 106. If no
unprocessed node is found, then select the next desired outcome (step 150, Figure 3 a)
and continue according to step 150. Eventually all nodes and all outcomes will be
processed and the processing will end.
Activity Insertion, Positioning, and Content Linking
When inserting a PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 into the PROJECT 70 that is
within the scope of the controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78, check if a PROJECT
ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to its parent WBS ACTIVITY 80 (as defined by the
controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78) is already included in the PROJECT 70. If so,
position the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 being inserted one level below its parent in its
correct position relative to any of its siblings which are already included in the
PROJECT 70. If the parent is not currently included in the PROJECT 70, determine
all missing higher-level NON-ELEMENTARY ACTTVITYs 56 based on the
PROJECT 's 70 controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78. All missing higher-level NON-
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITYs 56 must be included in the PROJECT 70 by inserting
corresponding PROJECT ACTIVITY's 68 into the PROJECT 70, in their correct
relative positions to their siblings. Once all the missing ancestry (i. e., higher-level
activities)has been included in the PROJECT 70, insert the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68
that corresponds to the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 one level below its parent in
its correct relative position to any of its siblings which are already included in the
PROJECT 70. Link each PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 inserted into the PROJECT 70 to
the CONTENT PAGE 74 referenced by the WBS ACTIVITY 80 in the PROJECT's
70 controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78 that references the ACTIVITY 52 corresponding
to the inserted PROJECT ACTIVITY 68.
When inserting a PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 into the PROJECT 70 that is not
within the scope of the controlling WBS TEMPLATE 78, check if a PROJECT
ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to its parent NON-ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 56 is
already included in the PROJECT 70. If so, position the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68
being inserted one level below the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to its
parent NON-ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 56, as the last PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 in
that parent (positioning relative to siblings will not be known).
If not, insert both the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to the
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 and a PROJECT ACTIVnY 68 corresponding to its
NON-ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 56 parent to the end of the PROJECT'S 70 WBS
78 under a top-level PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 named "Activities to be Manually
Positioned".
Create a PROJECT ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 66 to document each
dependency between a PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 inserted into the PROJECT 70 and
any of its predecessor and successor PROJECT ACTIVITY'S 68 that have already
been included in the PROJECT 70, based on any ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY
DEPENDENCYs 50 related to the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 that corresponds
to the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68. However, do not create a PROJECT ACTIVITY
DEPENDENCY 66 to document a dependency in any case where the
ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY DEPENDENCY 50 for the pairing has been overridden
by a WBS ACTIVITY 80 that is a component of the PROJECT s 70 controlling WBS
TEMPLATE 78.
Outcome-Driven Work Flow Reduction Process
This process is initiated when the work planner chooses to remove an
OUTCOME 62 that is currently planned for his or her PROJECT 70. Once initiated,
this process will remove any PROJECT ACTIVITYs 68 in the subject OUTCOME'S
62 work flow that does not participate in any This process is initiated when the work
planner chooses to remove an OUTCOME other planned OUTCOME'S 62 work flow
currently in the PROJECT 70.
Procedure 1. From the Planning Data Repository 28, at step 160 (Figure 4a)
select the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 corresponding to the ELEMENTARY
ACTIVITY 58 that produces the OUTCOME 62 the work planner wishes to remove
from the PROJECT 70.
The selected PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 will be the last point, or node, in the
work flow that results in the OUTCOME 62 to be removed. As above, the last node
94 in a work flow is commonly referred to as the "terminal", or "most-downstream"
node.
Procedure 2. At step 162 insert an entry into the Node Processing Table 114
(Figure 4a) representing the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68, as illustrated in the sample
table below, and then continue with step 164.
Sample Node Processing Table -114

The columns in the Node Processing Table (NPT) 114 (Figures 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b,
4c) have already been defined, above..
Procedure 3. At step 164 (Figure 4a) select the first entry in the Node
Processing Table 114. As discussed above, this entry will identify the most
downstream node 94 (above).
Procedure 4. Perform procedures 4.1 through 4.4 (Figures 4b, 4c) until all
nodes have been processed.
Procedure 4.1: Set the removal Indicator in the Node Processing Table for the
current node to "Y" in step 190 if one of the following is true:
(1) The ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58, corresponding to the PROJECT
ACTIVITY 68, at step 166, identified by the current node, produces an OUTCOME
62, at step 166, which was identified at step 192, as being selected for removal; or
(2) The ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 corresponding to the PROJECT
ACTIVITY 68 identified by the current node,, does not produce an
OUTCOME 62 and the PROJECT ACTIVITY 58 does not have any
immediate successor PROJECT ACTIVITY'S 68 in the PROJECT 70 that
have not been marked for removal in the Node Processing Table 114, as
determined at step 194.. This test insures that a PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 that
is part of the work flow of another OUTCOME 62 currently included in the
PROJECT 70 does not get removed, as determined at step 194. If all the
successors have not been marked for removal in the Node Processing Table
114, the procedure continues to step 170 (Figure 4c).
Procedure 4.2: If the ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 identified by the current
node being processed at step 170 (Figure 4c) is not classified as a "grouping" activity
and it has been marked at step 172 (Figure 4c) for removal,. At step 174 (Figure 4c)
select all of its predecessors according to the PROJECT ACTIVITY DEPENDENCYs
66 and at step 176 (Figure 4b) insert an entry into the Node Processing Table 114 for
each selected predecessor that is deterrnined, at step 178, to not already have an entry
in the Node Processing Table 114
Procedure 4.3: At step 180 (Figure 4c) set the Processed Indicator for the
current node to "Y" in the Node Processing Table 114.
Procedure 4.4: At step 182 select the next unprocessed node in the Node
Processing Table (i.e., the lowest entry sequence number where the Processed
Indicator = "N"). This is now the current node. If an unprocessed node is found at
step 184, then return to step 166 (Figure 4c) and continue from that step 166.
Procedure 5: At step 186 remove each PROJECT ACTIVITY 68
corresponding to an ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY 58 that is designated for removal in
the Node Processing Table from the PROJECT 70 according to the Activity Removal
process. As this removal process proceeds, when removing a PROJECT ACTIVITY
68 from a PROJECT 70, check if it is the last PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 for its parent
in the PROJECT'S 70 WBS. If so, remove the PROJECT ACTIVITY 68 and its
parent from the PROJECT 70. When removing the parent, check if it was the last
child for its parent in the PROJECTS 70 WBS. If so, remove it and its parent.
Continue this child/parent removal process until a parent PROJECT ACTIVITY 68
that has other children is found or the last ancestor of the current PROJECT
ACTIVITY 68 has been removed from the PROJECT 70. The processing ends at step
188.
EXAMPLE 1: Outcome-Driven Work Flow Synthesis Process.
For this example, the user has selected one outcome, outcome "03", for
synthesis and has selected the exemplary WBS controlling template shown in Figure
5a as the controlling WBS for the project. The procedures identified below
correspond to the numbered procedures in the description of the Outcome-Driven
Work Flow Synthesis Process, above.
Procedure 1: Elementary activity EA B1.3 produces the outcome that the user
wants to add to the project (i. e., outcome 03), so elementary activity EA B 1.3 is
selected from the Planning System Data Repository. See Figure 5a.
Procedure 2: Since a project activity corresponding to elementary activity EA
B 1.3 has not already been included in the project, an entry is inserted into the Node
Processing Table:
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Elementary activity EA Bl .3 was identified as the elementary activity that
produces selected outcome 03. At the conclusion of the first execution of step 4.1
the state of the Node Processing Table is shown above and the Project WBS/Work
Flow is shown in Figure 5b.
Following first execution of procedure 4.2
Procedure 4.2 identified EA B1.2 as a "relevant" upstream node for the
current node (EA B1.3)and inserted an entry reflecting this into the Node Processing
Table (below)
Procedure 4.4 selected the next unprocessed node in the Node Processing table
(selected node is indicated as the shaded row in the Node Processing Table). This
action caused node EA B 1.1 to become the "current" node.
Processing of procedures 4.1 through 4.4 will continue in the same manner as
described above until all relevant upstream nodes have been introduced into the
Project WBS/Work Flow according to the Activity Insertion, Positioning, and Content
Linking process This example illustrates, below, the internal states of the Node
Processing Table and Project WBS/Work Flow for each remaining iteration of 4.4.
Procedure 4.4 detected no remaining unprocessed nodes in the Node
Processing Table. This condition causes the termination of synthetic processing.
EXAMPLE 2 of the Outcome-Driven Work Flow Synthesis Process
In this example, after having selected outcome 03 and seeing the results in
the Project WBS/Work Flow from EXAMPLE 1, above, the user decides to add
Outcome 04. This illustrates how to synthesize an additional outcome into an existing
Project WBS/Work Flow. It also shows the special processing associated with an
Elementary Activity classified as a "grouping" activity. The notation follows that of
EXAMPLE 1, above. Figure 6a provides an exemplary Project WBS and work scope
of the controlling WBS used for this example.
Procedure 1
Elementary activity EA C 1.3 produces the outcome that the user (work
planner) wants to add to the project (i. e., Outcome 04), so it is selected from the
Planning System Data Repository 28 (Figure 1).
Procedure 2
Since a project activity corresponding to elementary activity EA C 1.3 has not
already been included in the project, an entry is inserted into the Node Processing
Table as follows:
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 3
The first entry is selected in the Node Processing Table. This is illustrated by
the shading the entry in the exemplary Node Processing Table as follows:
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4
The results of executing procedures 4.1 -4.4 until all entries in the Node
Processing Table have been processed are as follows:
Following first execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Elementary activity EA C1.3 was identified as the elementary activity that
produces the selected outcome 04. At the conclusion of the first execution of
procedure 4.1 the state of the Node Processing Table and Project WBS/Work Row is
as shown above and on Figure 6b.
Following first execution of procedure 4.2
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.2 identified EA C1.2 as a "relevant" upstream node for the current
node (EA C1 .3) and inserted an entry reflecting this into the Node Processing Table.
Following first execution of procedure 4.3
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.3 set the value of the Processed Indicator cell in Node Processing
Table for the current node to "Y".
Following first execution of procedure 4.4
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.4 selected the next unprocessed node in the Node Processing
Table (selected node is indicated as the shaded row in the Node Processing Table).
This action caused node EA C1.2 to become the "current" node.
Following second execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114
Procedure 4.1 caused EA C1. 2 to be inserted into the Project WBS/Work Flow
in its correct position according to the Controlling WBS TEMPLATE, and to be
linked to its successor, EA C1.3. Since none of EA C1.3's predecessors are present in
the Project WBS/Work Flow, it could not be linked to its predecessors at this Point.
See Figure 6c.
Following second execution of procedure 4.2
Procedure 4
Procedures 4.1 through 4.4 are executed until all entries in the Node
Processing Table have been processed.
Following first execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Project activity EA A2.5 was identified as the activity that produces selected
outcome 02. At the conclusion of the first execution of procedure 4.1 the state of the
Node Processing Table is as shown.
Procedure 4.1 set the Removal Indicator for the current node to "Y" because
the project activity identified by the current node produces the outcome selected for
removal.
Following first execution of procedure 4.2
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.2 ideatified EA A2.4 as a predecessor to the current node (EA
A2.5) according to the project activity dependencies, and inserted an entry reflecting
this into the Node Processing Table
Following first execution of procedure 4.3
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.3 set the value of the Processed Indicator of the current node in
the Node Processing Table to "Y".
Following first execution of procedure 4.4
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.4 selected the next unprocessed node in the Node Processing
Table (selected node is indicated as the shaded row in the Node Processing Table).
This action caused the node EA A2.4 to become the "current" node.
Following second execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.1 set the Removal Indicator for the current node to "Y" because
the project activity identified by the current node does not produce an outcome and
does not have any immediate successors in the Project WBS/Work Flow that have not
been marked for removal in the Node Processing Table (EA A2.5 is its only successor
and EA A2.5 has been marked for removal in the Node Processing Table).
Following second execution of procedure 4.2
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.2 identified EA A2.3 as a predecessor to the current node (EA
A2.4) according to Project Activity Dependencies, and inserted an entry reflecting
this into the Node Processing Table.
Following second execution of procedure 4.3
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.3 set the value of the Processed Indicator of the current node in
the Node Processing Table to "Y".
Following second execution of procedure 4.4
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.4 selected the next unprocessed node in the Node Processing
Table (shaded row). Thus EA A2.3 becomes the current node.
Following third execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.1 sets the Removal Indictor to "Y" because the project activity
identified by the current node does not produce an outcome. It does not have any
immediate successors in the Project WBS/Work Flow that have not been marked for
removal in the Node Processing table. EA A2.4 is its only successor and it has
already been marked for removal.
Following third execution of procedure 4.2
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.2 identified EA A 1.3 as a predecessor to the current node (EA
A2.3) according to the project activity dependencies and therefore inserted an entry
into the Node Processing Table.
Following third execution of procedure 4.3
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.3 set the value of the Processed Indicator for the current node
being processed to "Y".
Following third execution of procedure 4.4
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.4 selected the next unprocessed node (shaded) so that EA Al .3 is
the current node.
Following fourth execution of procedure 4.1
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.1 does not set the Removal Indicator for the current mode to "Y"
because the project activity identified by the current mode has immediate successors
in the Project WBS/Work Flows that have not been marked for removal in the Node
Processing Table (i.e., EA A2.1 and EA A2.2).
Following fourth execution of procedure 4.2
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.2 does not insert entries into the Node Removal Table for EA
A1.3's predecessors because EA A1.3 has not been marked for removal.
Following fourth execution of procedure 4.3
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.3 set the value of the Processed Indicator for the current node in
the Node Processing Table to "Y".
Following fourth execution of procedure 4.4
Sample Node Processing Table -114

Procedure 4.4 detected no remaining unprocessed nodes in the Node
Processing Table. This condition causes the termination of procedure 4's iteration.
Processing proceeds with procedure 5 which is the deletion of nodes marked for
removal. See Figure 7b.
Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in
detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can
be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined
by the appended claims. Moreover, the scope of the present application is not
intended to be limited to the particular embodiments of the process, machine,
manufacture, composition of matter, means, methods and steps described in the
specification. As one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the
disclosure of the present invention, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions
of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed that
perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the
corresponding embodiments described herein may be utilized according to the present
invention. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within then-
scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means,
methods, or steps.
We Claim
1. A process for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and related
work flows, comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting an existing project WBS, said existing project WBS having related
work flows;
(b) selecting at least one desired outcome for synthesis, said at least one selected
desired outcome having a first associated work flow comprising a network of
interdependent activities; and
(c) synthesizing and first associated work flow with said existing project WBS
and its related work flows by:
(c1) identifying the most downstream activity in said first associated work
flow;
(c2) determinging whether each activity in said frst associated work flow is
already present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated by
starring with the most downstream activity in said first associated work flow
and working upstream until all activities in said first associate work flow have
been compared to the activities of the project WBS and related work flows
being generated;
(c3) adding any activity in said first associated work flow which is not already
present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated;
(c4) adding activity dependencies which should exist between any of said
added activities and any activity already present in the project WBS and
related work flows being generated; and
(c5) introducing summary activities, when required, into the project WBS
being generated when lowest-level activities from said first associated work
flow are added.
2. The process of claim 1, further comprising the steps of:
(d) selecting at least one undesired outcome for de-synthesis, said at least one
selected undesired outcome having a second associated work flow comprising
a network of interdependent activities; and
(e) de-synthesizing said second associated work flow from the project WBS and
related work flows being generated by:
(e1) identifying the most downstream activity in said second associated work
flow;
(e2) determining whether each activity in said second associated work flow is also
part of the work flows associated with desired outcomes which are already present
in the present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated by
starting with the most downstream activity in said second associated work flow
and working upstream until all activities in said second associated work flow have
been evaluated;
(e3) removing any activity and activity dependency which are not needed as part
of the work flows associated with the remaining desired outcomes for the project
WBS and related work flows being generated; and
(e4) removing summary activities, as appropriate, from the project WBS being
generated as lowest-level activities from said second associated work flow are
being removed.
3. A process for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and related
work flows representing the minimal work to produce at least one desired
outcome as claimed in claim 1, said process comprising the steps of:
(a) viewing a set of available WBS templates;
(b) viewing a set of outcomes within and outside the scope of each WBS template
from said set of available WBS templates;
(c) selecting a controlling WBS template from said set of available WBS
templates for a project WBS;
(d) selecting at least one desired outcome from said set of outcomes for synthesis,
said at least one selected desired outcome having a first associated work flow;
(e) synthesizing said first associated work flow with the project WBS according
to said selected controlling WBS template;
(f) viewing the project WBS and related work flows being generated; and
(g) linking each activity of the project WBS being generated with appropriate
instructional content.
4. A system for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and related
work flows comprising:
(a) means for (26) accepting as input an existing project WBS and at least one desired
outcome, said existing project WBS having related work flows;
(b) means (12 ,16,30)far storing said existing project WBS and related work flows;
(c) means (38) for storing a set of activities associated with a set of pre-defined WBS
templates;
(d) meats(16) for identifying lowest level activities and their interdependencies from
said stored set of activities necessary to produce said at least one desired
outcome, said identified lowest level activities and interdependencies defining
an associated work flow; and
(e) means for synthesizing said associated work flow and appropriate summary
activities with said existing project WBS and its related work flows.
5. The system as claimed in claim 4, further comprising means for(16) linking
instructional content with each activity.
6. The system as claimed in claim 5, further comprising means(18) for viewing
outcomes of a generated project WBS and related work flows.
7. The process as claimed in claim 3, further comprising the step of selecting at least
one undersired outcome from said set of outcomes for de-synthesis after step (f),
said at least one selected undesired outcome having a second associated work
flow.
8. The process as claimed in claim 7, further comprising the step of de-synthesizing
said second associated work flow from the project WBS and related work flows
being generated by referencing selected controlling WBS template.
9. A process for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and releated
work flows as claimed in claim 1, comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting a controlling WBS template for a project WBS;
(b) selecting at least one desired outcome for synthesis, said at least one
selected desired outcome having a first associated work flow comprising a
network of interdependent activities; and
(c) synthesizing said first associated work flow with the project WBS and
related work flows being generated according to said selected controlling
WBS template by:
(c1) identifying the most downstream activity in said first associated work
flow;
(c2) determining whether each activity in said first associated work flow is
already present in the project WBS and related work flows being
generated by starting with the most downstream activity in said first
associated work flow and working upstream until all activities in said first
associated work flow have been compared to the activities of the project
WBS and related work flows being generated;
(c3) adding any activity in said first associated work flow which is not
already present in the project WBS and related work flows being
generated;
(c4) adding any activity dependency which should exist between any of
said added activities and any activity already present in the project WBS
and related work flows being generated; and
(c5) introducing summary activities, as appropriate, into the project WBS
being generated when lowest-level activities from said first associated
work flow are added.
10. The process as claimed in claim 9, further comprising the steps of:
(d) selecting at least one undesired outcome for de-synthesis, said at least one
selected undesired outcome having a second associated work flow
comprising a network of interdependent activities; and
(e) de-synthesizing said second associated work flow from the project WBS
and related work flows being generated by:
(e1) identifying the most downstream activity in said second associated
work flow;
(e2) determining whether each activity in said second associated work flow
is also part of the work flows associated with desired outcomes which are
already present in the project WBS and related work flows being
generated by starting with the most downstream activity in said second
associated work flow and working upstream until all activities in said
second associated work flow have been evaluated;
(e3) removing any activity and activity dependency which are not needed
as part of the work flows associated with the remaining desired outcomes
for the project WBS and related work flows being generated; and
(e4) removing summary activities, as appropriate, from the project WBS
being generated by referencing said selected controlling WBS template as
lowest-level activities from said second associated work flow are being
removed.
11. A system for generating a project work breakdown structure (WBS) and
related work flows comprising:
(a) means(26)for accepting as input a controlling WBS template for a
project WBS and at least one desired outcome;
(b) means for(12,16,30) storing said controlling WBS template;
(c) means for(30) storing a set of activities associated with a set of pre-
defined WBS templates;
(d) means for(16) identifying lowest level activities and their
interdependencies from said stored set of activities necessary to
produce said at least one desired outcome, said identified
lowest level activities and interdependencies defining an
associated work flow; and
(e) means(16)for synthesizing said associated work flow and
appropriate summary activities with the project WBS and
related work flows being generated according to said
controlling WBS template.
12. The system as claimed in claim 11, further comprising means for linking
instructional content with each activity.
13. The system as claimed in claim 13, further comprising means for viewing
outcomes of a generated project WBS and related work flows.

The present invention provides a process and system for generating a project work
breakdown structure (WBS) and related work flows, comprising the steps of selecting an
existing project WBS, said existing project WBS having related work flows; selecting at
least one desired outcome for synthesis, said at least one selected desired outcome having
a first associated work flow comprising a network of interdependent activities; and
synthesizing and first associated work flow with said existing project WBS and its related
work flows by. (c1) identifying the most downstream activity in said first associated work
flow; (c2) determinging whether each activity in said frst associated work flow is already
present in the project WBS and related work flows being generated by starring with the
most downstream activity in said first associated work flow and working upstream until
all activities in said first associate work flow have been compared to the activities of the
project WBS and related work flows being generated; (c3) adding any activity in said
first associated work flow which is not already present in the project WBS and related
work flows being generated; (c4) adding activity dependencies which should exist
between any of said added activities and any activity already present in the project WBS
and related work flows being generated; and (c5) introducing summary activities, when
required, into the project WBS being generated when lowest-level activities from said
first associated work flow are added. (Figure 1)

Documents:

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-abstract.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-assignment.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-claims.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-correspondence.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-description (complete).pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-drawings.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-examination report.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 1.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 13.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 18.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 2.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 3.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 5.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-form 6.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-gpa.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-abstract.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-assignment.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-claims.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-correspondence.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-description (complete).pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-drawings.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-examination report.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 1.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 13.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 18.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 2.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 3.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 5.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-form 6.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-gpa.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-pa.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-reply to examination report.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-granted-specification.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-pa.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-reply to examination report.pdf

in-pct-2002-1108-kol-specification.pdf


Patent Number 247885
Indian Patent Application Number IN/PCT/2002/1108/KOL
PG Journal Number 22/2011
Publication Date 03-Jun-2011
Grant Date 30-May-2011
Date of Filing 28-Aug-2002
Name of Patentee PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP
Applicant Address 333 MARKET STREET, 21T FLOOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 YOUNG KEVIN W 7016 PELICAN ISLAND DRIVE, TAMPA FL 33634
2 MAGEE TERENCE 18905 AVENUE BRIARRITZ, LUTZ, FL 33569
PCT International Classification Number G06F 17/00
PCT International Application Number PCT/US2001/07392
PCT International Filing date 2001-03-06
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 60/187,481 2000-03-07 U.S.A.
2 60/198,915 2000-04-20 U.S.A.