Well, not a rant really; more a lament.
It is actually a lament about how the fact that language is used differently across the two sides of the Atlantic can cause misunderstandings and, well… rants.
I have been mystified for a while, about why some bloggers have commented – sometimes vehemently – on the need for Work Breakdown Structures to show deliverables, when it seems obvious to me that a WBS is a Work Breakdown Structure and, as I was taught, contains the Work or activities of the project. It is a PBS or Product Breakdown Structure that contains the Products or Deliverables.
As I was researching for my forthcoming book on Project Risk Management, “Shift Happens!” I checked out the PMI’s PMBOK Guide (Fourth Edition). This defines the WBS as a “deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work…”
So what then is a PBS? PMBOK does not define it, and so I see what has happened. In the UK, we define (in “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2” Fourth Impression) a PBS as “A hierarchy of all the products …”
The “so what?”
Two nations divided by a common language
So we are all right. A WBS focuses on the activities here in the UK and on the deliverables in the US. Who knows about elsewhere?