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Task characteristics

Work package


The task is a single item that is often called a ‘work package’.

Giving someone a task to do is very much like setting SMART targets.
Any task you assign must be measurable in terms of its completion.

In addition you must be able to define what resource the task will consume.
This will be:

  • Cost
  • Effort
  • Resource
  • Duration

The cost of the task is the total amount to achieve the task completion.
The effort is the amount of man-days or man-weeks involved.
The resource will include the number of personnel and any specific equipment required.
The duration is the expected length of time expected to complete the task given the resource available.

Result in a single (verifiable) end product

The completion of any task should result in a single output which can be measured to show task completion.
This becomes an identifiable ‘product’ of the project and should be listed for progress review purposes.

Clear start and end dates

All tasks must have clear start and end dates that correspond to what is required in the project schedule.

Responsibility of a single person

A task will be the responsibility of one person.
A manager, supervisor or Team Manager may have the responsibility of many tasks but only one person should be responsible for each task (work package) assigned.

Any tasks assigned external to the organisation to outside contractors should be handled carefully.

PRINCE2® [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] describes assigning a work package in the process ‘Controlling a Stage (CS)’ and the sub-process ‘Authorising Work Package (CS1)’.

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.