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I'm trying to establish a work breakdown structure in Microsoft Project for the building out of a new application life cycle infrastructure for a software project.

I have to perform a set of x-number of tasks in each environment (e.g development, staging, production etc.) How do I accurately represent a separate instance of the tasklist for each environment, concisely and accurately in a WBS? Repeating such a list for each environment seems redundant; establishing a task-list template seems logical, but not like anything I've seem in my research.

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The answer depends on how important the tasks are; the goal of the WBS is that it contains the work, the whole work and nothing but the work.

If the tasks are short, repetitive and clearly understood, it may be sufficient to roll them up to a milestone e.g.

  • "Certify that development environment is ready",
  • "Certify that the staging environment is ready", *& "Certify that production is ready"....

or something like that. In such a situation, I would assign the responsibility for that milestone to a single individual who is personally accountable for any delay if the task is late. I'd probably also include the definition of "ready" in the WBSD.

On the other hand, if the repetitive tasks are necessary for delivery of the project, if their omission would impede the project then it makes sense to track them. Sensei project management has a quality standard for project WBS; they suggest that you enter your task names so that every task is unique, no matter how the WBS is filtered. I concur with them; you should repeat tasks.

e.g.


Complete Development Task A
Complete Development Task B
.
.
.
Complete Staging Task A
Complete Staging Task B
.
.
. Complete Production Task A
.
.
.

Disclaimer; I'm not affiliated with Sensei Project Solutions, I just know good work when I see it.

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Personally, I would not mind the redundancy, as the same task for the different environments have separate status. Though they seem identical from a starting point - things develop. The tasks would also be executed at different points in time.

Ok, a reuse of the same wbs for tracking 3-4 different environments.

  1. If the set of environments is hierarchical, you could mark the task 25% complete after the first, 50% after the second, and so forth.
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In the past when I've been confronted with similar issues I've had to accept that if the work is truly for different instances of the task set I needed to represent them redundantly. If it was the same task for the same environment, then using a Recurring Task in MS Project worked, but for different environments (and possibly different resources) you will need to bite the bullet. Establishing a schedule does not have the use of a sub-routine as an option.

As an aide to inserting redundant tasking I would create the template and then just copy/paste it into the schedule.

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