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Work Order

The work order is the Project Manager's means of communicating what is to be done, and when, to the responsible staff. It becomes an internal contract between the Project Manager and those assigned responsibility for completion.
Role: Project Manager
Tool Mentors:

Input to Activities: Output from Activities:

Purpose To top of page

At the completion of iteration planning, or whenever a change is needed, the Project Manager uses the work order to turn planning into action. The work order is a negotiated agreement between the Project Manager and the staff to perform a particular activity, or set of activities, under a defined schedule and with certain deliverables, effort, and resource constraints.

Brief Outline To top of page

1. Identification

Uniquely identifies the project and the work order.

2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) identification

Identifies the work package (in the project plan) associated with this work order. Effort expended on this work order will be allocated to this work package for tracking.

3. Responsibility

Organizational positions responsible for fulfilling the work order.

4. Associated Change Requests

References to Change Requests that are associated with this work order (those that were the stimulus for it or those that will be fixed coincidentally).

5. Schedule

The schedule covers the estimated start and completion dates, and the critical path completion date.

6. Effort and other resources

Addresses the staff-hours, total and over time, as well as other resource budgets; for example, development environment time, test environment time.

7. Description of work and expected outputs

Describes what is to be done and what is to be produced—references the Rational Unified Process description of the activities to be performed and artifacts to be produced, or the development case, as appropriate.

8. Indication of agreement between Project Manager and responsible staff

The work order should be signed and dated by the holder of the responsible position (usually a team lead) and the Project Manager.

Timing To top of page

Work orders may be issued any time the Project Manager needs to initiate work on the project. Usually this occurs at the beginning of an iteration (after iteration planning) and whenever an approved Change Request is passed to the Project Manager for action. The Project Manager may also use the work order to initiate problem and issue resolution work for which no Change Request is required (because it falls within the discretionary authority of the Project Manager).

Responsibility To top of page

The Role: Project Manager is responsible for the work order.

Tailoring To top of page

The work order is the mechanism by which the Project Manager communicates plans to project members. On small projects this could be as simple as discussing a plan on a whiteboard and then confirming agreements through e-mail. On large, very structured projects perhaps some form of automated activity management is used, where the Project Manager injects formal directions that appear to the team members in to-do lists (maybe with some protocol for agreement).

Another option is to use an automated change request management system, extended so that all work on a project (not just defects) is described in change requests, and the directions to perform work are implemented as actions (through, say email, or through an integration with an automated activity management system) that are triggered by state changes in the change request management process. See the Tool Mentor: Establishing a Change Request Process Using Rational ClearQuest® for an example of how an automated change management process, which triggers external actions, can be set up.

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