Do you understand the Work Breakdown Structure options in BillQuick?
What best suits your management style and information needs will determine how you setup projects. There are several ways to organize your work breakdown structure. Take a quick tour and see which fits your preferences. You might also see a few more ways to optimize how you track projects costs, budgets, profitability and more.
Work Breakdown Structure 1
BillQuick supports a 4-level work breakdown structure. The levels are:
- Segment (or Sub-Phase)
Each level below Project is a “child” of the one above it.
Each level is a “project record” with its own ID, name, manager, status and contract type (fixed fee, hourly, etc.). Project IDs are 65 characters in length (alphanumeric) and Name is 50 characters. What this means is you can be descriptive with fields commonly used to identify a project when entering time, reviewing reports, etc.
Status is a key field. For users to charge time and expenses to a project record, it must be flagged as Active. A “parent” of a “child” project is typically flagged as Main (cannot charge time and expenses).
Depending on the contract type and preferences, a project record might have:
- A contract amount (compare total charges against it)
- A budget (compare charges against line items)
- Assigned Employees, Activities and Expenses (restrict who can charge what to a project, phase, etc.)
- A bill rate schedule (assign special rates to a project, phase, etc.)
Many firms break down the project scope of work into phases. In some cases, the scope for a phase may be broken into sub-scopes or sub-phases. BillQuick calls this level of project records ‘Segments’. You can, if desired, break down Segments into Sub-Segments. For instance, you may separate Company Charges and Sub-consultant Charges into different segments.
How deep the work breakdown structure extends will depend on your preferences and needs. For this example, let’s stay with Project-Phase-Segment.
When entering time, users charge hours to the project record (project, phase, segment) that represents the scope of work they’re working on. Only assigned users can charge allowed activities and expenses to it. If employees, activities or expenses are not assigned to a project, phase, etc., anyone can charge time and expenses to it.
When you use this work breakdown structure and charge activities to a sub-phase, a project report might look like this. It is labeled by the Sub-Phase ID.
Work Breakdown Structure 2
A work breakdown structure exists to track job costs and related information at a finer level. This can, in some instances, create complexity that increases setup time and leads to data entry errors (e.g., charging to the wrong project record).
An alternative work breakdown structure to NOT use segments. You can view similar project management information by categorizing activities.
A sub-phase is often a department or group that performs part of the scope of work on a phase (or a project). Instead of adding to the work breakdown structure, you create a series of related activity codes (see 1). Rather than choose a general activity (see 2), the task is specific to the department or group.
When you categorize activities for the work done, fewer project records are setup. And you can easily view the work done.
Depending on the report chosen (or customized), activities might be listed together along with other activities. Or (see below), they may be grouped by individual activity. In a custom report, you may choose to group details by the first portion of the activity – Subsystem.
Before deciding which work breakdown structure is best, setup a sample project with phases and segments. Add a group of test activities and enter sample time and expenses. Now, check out various standard BillQuick reports. You should get a good sense of both what kind of project/job cost information is available and how it is presented.
Once you are confident of the information tracked and managed by BillQuick, decide whether a standard or custom report better fits your management style and needs.