Data Collection Tools for PM/QA/Business Analysts

Projects are so complex today because there are many stakeholders/business owners to satisfy and because there are boundaries of cost, time, and performance that will create stress for a project manager/scrummaster and his team. Add one of the Agile frameworks to the mix and the speed of the project will increase 10 fold. While a project manager/scrummaster needs to have a basic understanding of the technical aspects of a project, it is not necessary that project manager/scrummasters are technical experts. The best way to run a project is to utilize human resources (team skill sets) optimally and to align technical elements of the project to team members that have the technical expertise in the element they need to development. Tools (automated/not automated) are great but the project manager/scrummasters must be able to ask the right questions and understand responses. One management tool that can be used by the project manager/scrummasters/quality assurance/business analyst is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). No matter what framework you are using (waterfall/agile) this tool is very successful for large and complex projects. It identifies all activities that need to be included in a schedule, like an organized brainstorming session. Use your WBS to divide your project into sufficient detail to create work packages to assign to team members. A work package represent activities need to be completed to fulfill your WBS objectives. The top levels of the WBS chart are shells or repositories (see below). Because of the simplicity of the chart, you can use a flow format to present a summarized view of your project to stakeholders/business owners, clients and customers.

The WBS is a WHOS, and WHAT document:

Defining a WHAT and Identify the WHOS responsible for each task.
To use a WBS, break down each initial deliverable into as many small pieces as necessary. Continue this process until your project team is satisfied that all project activities are identified and vertically (hierarchically) related to each other correctly. A key word associated with WBS is decomposition. Decomposition means that a project deliverable is divided or broken down into its elemental parts.

Flow Example of a WBS:

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