1.4.1 The Breakdown Structure Systems

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1.4.1 The Breakdown Structure Systems

Introduction > General View of the ShipWeight System

In ShipWeight, breakdown structures are organized hierarchically.

The figure below illustrates the top four levels in the standard ShipWeight breakdown structure. The complete structure encompasses over 300 weight groups, categorized into six levels.


The default configuration in ShipWeight follows the standard structure. Moreover, ShipWeight seamlessly integrates the US Navy's "Ship Work Breakdown Structure System" (SWBS). In addition to this you can easy create your own WBS structure. Please check out the article Customizing the ShipWeight System Database in the Training Manual if you would like to learn how to customize the WBS according to your company's specific needs. If you need help, we can also accommodate requests for specialized breakdown structures, including Rig Estimation Breakdown Structure System, General Offshore Breakdown Structure, or a custom structure tailored to your company's specific needs. Your flexibility in choosing the right structure is our priority.
Significance of the Breakdown Structure in a ShipWeight project

The hierarchically breakdown structure serves two main purposes in ShipWeight; enhanced Estimation and Weight Control. The breakdown structure within ShipWeight is a pivotal tool that empowers project managers and estimators alike. By providing a detailed and effective means of tracking and managing weights, it enhances visibility and enables targeted interventions. Ultimately, it significantly contributes to the overall success of the project by facilitating more informed decision-making, reducing uncertainties, and ensuring accuracy throughout the estimation process. Below you find a detailed explanation for both cases.

Enhanced Estimations:

1. Isolation of Weight Groups: By dividing a project into smaller units or weight groups, it becomes easier to compare similar components across different projects. For example, in a large construction project, you might have distinct sections like foundation, framework, electrical, etc. Isolating these weight groups allows for more accurate estimation because you're comparing similar components with consistent parameters.

2. Comparative Analysis: With the breakdown structure in place, you can conduct a detailed comparative analysis of weight groups. This involves looking at historical data from similar projects or components and using it as a reference point for the current project. This process helps in identifying trends, patterns, and potential variations in weight estimates.

3. Refinement of Estimates: As you accumulate more data through the breakdown structure, you have the opportunity to refine your estimates. For instance, if you notice a consistent deviation in a specific weight group, you can adjust your estimates accordingly. This iterative process allows for continuous improvement in the accuracy of weight estimations.

4. Mitigation of Errors: The breakdown structure introduces a statistical cancellation effect. This means that errors in the estimation of weight groups may sometimes lead to a higher or lower weight. Over time, these variations tend to balance out to some extent. This mitigation of errors contributes to more reliable and consistent estimations.

5. Improved Decision-Making:Accurate estimations are crucial for making informed decisions in project management. When you can rely on the breakdown structure to provide precise weight estimates, you're better equipped to allocate resources, plan schedules, and manage budgets effectively.

6. Risk Reduction: Inaccurate estimations can lead to cost overruns, delays, and other complications. The enhanced estimation process due to the breakdown structure helps mitigate these risks by providing a more reliable basis for project planning and execution.

Enhanced weight control:

1.Granular Tracking: With the breakdown structure in place, project managers can monitor the weight of individual components or groups of components. This granularity enables a more detailed and focused approach to weight management.

2. Targeted Interventions: By tracking weights at a granular level, project managers can identify specific areas where deviations from estimates occur. This allows for targeted interventions to address any issues promptly, rather than dealing with broad, generalized weight discrepancies.

3. Holistic Monitoring: The breakdown structure facilitates a holistic view when tracking weight changes. As weights are updated or modified, project managers can immediately see these adjustments at the component, group level and even how this impacts the total weight of the project. This provides a dynamic view of the project's progress.

4. Progress Assessment: Project managers can use the detailed weight data to assess the progress of specific components or groups relative to the project's overall timeline. This helps in identifying areas where additional resources or attention may be needed to stay on track.

5. Variance Analysis: With the breakdown structure, it's possible to conduct detailed variance analyses. This involves comparing actual weights against estimated weights for specific components. Deviations can be investigated to understand the underlying causes and take appropriate corrective actions.

6. Resource Allocation: Detailed weight tracking allows for more efficient resource allocation. Project managers can allocate resources based on the specific needs of different components, ensuring that each part of the project receives the attention and resources it requires.

7. Performance Evaluation: The breakdown structure provides a basis for evaluating the performance of different components or groups. This can be valuable for identifying areas of excellence as well as those that may require improvement.

8. Risk Mitigation: Enhanced weight follow-up reduces the risk of unexpected weight-related issues impacting the project. By closely monitoring weights, project managers can proactively address any discrepancies or challenges, minimizing the potential for costly delays or budget overruns.

9. Continuous Improvement: Through ongoing weight tracking and analysis, project managers can refine their estimation processes over time. Lessons learned from one project can be applied to future projects, leading to continuous improvement in the accuracy of weight estimates.