Lightweight Project Management

Good to be blogging again after a three month hiatus.

The Work Breakdown Structure has caught my attention. The work breakdown structure is foundational to project management. My insight today is that the WBS could also be foundation to a task management tool. The beauty of the WBS is the way that it assists in enumerating ALL the work and ONLY the work involved in a project – this idea is a way to leverage this ability in a lightweight way with an easy migration to a sophisticated PM tool.

I imagine a WBS creation tool like Freemind with its fluid and fast interface. The leaves of the tree are work packages which naturally degenerate to tasks.

For simple projects, one view of the WBS would present only the leaves of the tree (ie only the tasks) as a reorderable list. Tasks could then be assigned to a day and checked off when done like other task managers.

When the task view is not powerful enough the tool would allow the full power of a Project Management (PM) tool like openproj to be applied to the same WBS and work packages/ tasks.

If dependences between parts of the WBS are added using the PM tool then the task view would show the tasks in clusters based on the dependencies.


  1. David, I have not seen the software that you refer to however it poses a problem for me…as you say, work breakdown is critical for project success. One problem I see with software is that people break projects down in a linear way. By this I mean they have one work packager and build downwards from this. The danger is there is no free flowing of ideas, suggestions.

    I have worked with many project teams who have applied the process you described (no software…) and they have discovered large omissions. At least they discovered them but in some instances the omissions were pretty serious

    So, I am not too convinced about the merits of a software approach…please convince me!

    Ron Rosenhead

  2. Hey, free flow of ideas is a must. And you are absolutely right. Software systems are no magic bullet.

  3. I\’ve just checked this software (did not install it though), and I have to tell you it doesn\’t look like the most intuitive.

  4. Hi – If you are talking about Freemind – I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is a mind-map program and I find it fast and fluid. This program does not at this stage have any links with PM software. V0.9 which is due soon will have the ability to add attributes to the entries in the mind map and perhaps they could be linked up?

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