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Plans: Do you breakdown Phases into workstreams OR break down Workstreams into Phases
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The challenge is that if you have life cycle phases (design, build , release) split into workstreams the Workstream manager will find his activities in several places in the plan rather than being neatly grouped together. If alternatively you plan by Workstream then establishing life cycle/ stage control points (e.g. requirements agreed, design agreed, build completed etc) then you must look across across multiple workstreams.

I have a 3rd alternative that is you plan by Workstream with each workstream having its own life cycle milestone (design, build, deliver) however there are additional project governance stages agreed with Sponsor at agreed intervals and you agree what will be reviewed/ due here at each governance stage .e.g at 1 meeting it might be the technical design that is due to be confirmed. Then at a later stage it is the marketing design being agreed. And another stage may agreed the Training design. etc.
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Trying to help because it is a very interesting question, what does mean workstream for you?
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Hi Andrew!!! I hope all is well -- I just heard some news in the office from Matt; and was happy to see you out here!

In your example, is a Workstream a Program containing multiple projects? Or is Workstream the (IT) Release planning/implementation schedule?
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A workstream to me sounds like a portion of the scope of a project. Your scheduling tool and other PMIS's should be able to group or sort activities by either phase or workstream which would address the first question.

In general, I'm used to seeing phases at a higher level than workstream as that provides the necessary end-to-end visibility requested by senior management and in a schedule will result in activities which flow chronologically from top to bottom.

Kiron
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If I understand what you mean by workstream, we do something similar to your 3rd option. Detailed work is planned end to end for an individual product with its own project schedule and managed by the team owning that product. There are many projects in an overall program that are all integrated together for the top level product such as a vehicle.

For one individual product, let us say a piece of hardware procured from an outside supplier, there are project level milestones like PDR as the phase changes from conceptual design to detailed design, and CDR as it transitions from detailed design to fabrication and test.

At the program level there are phases as well and the lower level project schedules must be aligned with the higher level program schedule so that the products are integrated based on the project milestones. For example, before the program CDR, lower level CDRs must be complete showing that the individual products are integrated with one another and the interfaces are firm.

We manage that with different views, but part of the skill of the project manager is being able to pull the right view to get the required information.
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Firstly , thanks to all of you for your replies. Today is the first time I have used discussion boards and I am very impressed by the speed and thought that has gone into your responses. I will try to address all your points in this one e mail , so please forgive the length of this e mail:

1.My definition of Workstreams: To me a workstream is usual project activity that tends to be based around function. For instance I worked on a project in the Water Industry that required engineering solutions regarding provision of clean water and removal of dirty water. The proposals had to reflect what the customers had said they valued (e.g. they wanted Clean beaches were prepared to pay high bills for them rather than get low bills and not so clean beaches). In this example there was a Customer focus workstream that worked with the customer to provide information into the Clean Water Workstream and Dirty Water Workstream of (i) what the customer valued (ii) provided feedback on proposals from Clean Water team or Dirty Water team. In turn the two Water teams then used this feed back to develop or adjust their schemes. Note that the Customer workstrean was dependent on certain information being delivered by the Water workstreams and water workstreams were dependent on feedback from customer workstream!

BTW Some people may swap the term 'workstreams' for 'projects' and in turn then replace my title of 'project' with 'programme'.

2. Scale of projects. Generally the projects I work in are IT or financial services so they aren’t on the same scale or have the same impact as say building an aircraft or a rocket (or providing clean water). The fact they are lower impact means it is a more acceptable risk (i.e. no-one dies if we get it wrong) to decouple the design of different components. E.g. the design of the user interface doesn’t need to be hard wired into the design of the company intranet.

3. Kiron, I absolutely agree you can use filters and labels on your PMIS so that you can achieve the grouping. I think the projects I work on tend to be relatively small (less than $2 million dollars) so if possible I would try to avoid the filtering solution as it provides (minor) additional complexity but I understand it could be a solution. Thanks

4. Keith, I think I am on the same page as you and it is the more or less like my option 3. For benefit of everyone in my Option 3 the phases or reporting stages aren’t necessarily labelled Design, Build, Deploy. They could be timed to reflect decisions to proceed or to commit more money with known risks at each stage. For instance the initial milestone might include Technical design of High level solution but it might not include/ could not have included design of interfaces to associated systems and it probably will not include the design of data migration activity or the testing of migrated data or include design of training plan (these undesigned items would be flagged as a risk with a date for resolution). An example I have is implementing an new off the shelf accounting systems. In the initial design gateway the design is how the system will operate in the Accounts areas and the associated high level business processes. However this is unlikely at this stage to include defining the interfaces from other interfacing systems such as the procurement system or the HR payroll system or defining how the accounts information will be migrated from a host of other legacy systems.

6. Mary Beth – great to hear from you and I will catch up separately (please send Andy Zuckerman my regards).
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You better to clarify the question. according to my understanding, it depends on the situation. However, I am not sure if I understand your question correctly.
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You are mixing project lifecycle ( initiate, exec, control, close ) with product lifecycle ( design build test).

Talking about product lifecycle you will have separate cycle for each work stream as in programmes.

Talking about project or programme lifecycle you will have phases split to streams .
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Andrew - you made me laugh out loud just now!! ;-) I avoid that particular section of the building of late at all costs!!!!

How about I tell Matt F. you send regards as he's here in the States visiting. :-) he leaves for home today and he said to ask that you PLEASE contact him for a "Beer and a Fight"!!!!
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1 reply by Andrew Addison
May 23, 2019 9:52 AM
Andrew Addison
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Hiya, Yes, please pass on my regards to Matt. I will reach out when I am back up in London and settled. I think he should have my e mail address so he can also reach out to me. BTW are you able to mentor me on this project management community thing? My question is if we 'connect' does this enable 121 messaging ? I am thinking this it would be better if I communicated with you directly rather than tie up a social conversation within a discussion board. Regards Andrew
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May 23, 2019 8:45 AM
Replying to Mary Kuderna
...
Andrew - you made me laugh out loud just now!! ;-) I avoid that particular section of the building of late at all costs!!!!

How about I tell Matt F. you send regards as he's here in the States visiting. :-) he leaves for home today and he said to ask that you PLEASE contact him for a "Beer and a Fight"!!!!
Hiya, Yes, please pass on my regards to Matt. I will reach out when I am back up in London and settled. I think he should have my e mail address so he can also reach out to me. BTW are you able to mentor me on this project management community thing? My question is if we 'connect' does this enable 121 messaging ? I am thinking this it would be better if I communicated with you directly rather than tie up a social conversation within a discussion board. Regards Andrew
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I think he has your email too -- I told him that you and I had discovered each other here and he is at the airport. He said he could email you while waiting to depart. :-)

Yes -- we should use the Inbox feature and I just sent you a 'test' email.
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