Brad Bigelow, a PRINCE2 V7 Author, discusses the importance of integrating both Product Breakdown Structures (PBS) and Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) in project management. He argues that solely relying on one of these tools is a mistake, as most projects involve both work and materials (outputs). In PRINCE2, the focus is traditionally on the PBS, which details deliverables and aligns them with expected outcomes. However, Bigelow emphasizes the significance of also considering the work involved in delivering these products, for which a WBS is crucial.
Using the analogy of baking a cake, he illustrates how projects can be effectively managed by considering both the ingredients (materials) and the steps involved in preparation (work). The final product, such as a cake with icing and decorations, corresponds to the deliverables in the PBS. The different stages of baking, frosting, and decorating the cake parallel the work activities outlined in a WBS. Bigelow points out that the skill level required for each task, like cake decoration, also plays a role in the project’s outcome, which ties back to the work structure.
In PRINCE2, while the focus remains product-oriented and the PBS is the principal tool for organizing scope, the integration of a WBS is now recommended. This approach helps in organizing the activities involved in delivering the project. Bigelow suggests that in contracts involving outsourcing, elements like statements of work and product specifications align well with WBS and PBS, respectively, highlighting their relevance and usefulness in project management.