The phrase “the color of money” is not only the title of a movie starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, but also a common phrase used by cost estimation professionals referring to what phase of the project (i.e., Procurement or Operations & Maintenance) the money is being allocated to.
However, there are multiple ways to keep track of financials. The two most popular ways a project’s budget can be organized are Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or a Product Breakdown Structure (PBS). As you might be able to infer just by looking at the name, the main difference between the two is that a PBS is focused on the products within, while the WBS is broken up based on labor. For a deeper explanation, you can read another blog post on the same topic here.
There are many different possible WBS or PBS outlines for a single project, as each organization may define a section differently. At PRICE Systems, our TruePlanning® software uses a PBS to organize costs.
Converting Between a PBS and WBS
While a PBS and WBS are two very different structures, it is possible to convert between the two. At PRICE, we created the TrueMapper® software that takes PBS elements from an existing project and matches it appropriately to the pieces of a WBS. This can help people from different organizations speak the same financial language.
NASA WBS Mappings
Earlier this year we added a new feature to our space templates, which is part of a PRICE program explained by cost researcher Grady Noll’s blog series here and here. Because NASA has a standard WBS used by members within the agency, we took the PBS structures of the satellite, launch vehicle and CubeSat templates to make a correspondence between them and NASA’s WBS elements. While there are different methods used within the different agencies of NASA, our mappings use a common method across the organization.
The picture below demonstrates an example of the new mappings:
In this satellite mapping, the system-level resources associated with the payload of the satellite are mapped to the top-level Project Management, Systems Engineering, and Safety and Mission Assurance. System-level Bus resources are mapped to the following bus level WBS elements: Flight System Project Management, Flight System Systems Engineering, and Flight System Product Assurance. All other PBS elements are mapped to their respective NASA WBS elements.
We encourage our customers to check out this new feature in our other space templates. Any questions or comments below are welcome.
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