Knowing Your PBS From Your PFD

The two product diagrams used in PRINCE2 show the two views of structure and sequence, so they’re very different. Both diagrams are simple in concept. You can’t be asked to draw the diagrams in the exams, because both papers use a multiple-choice question format. However, in the Foundation exam you can be asked general questions about them, and in the Practitioner exam you may be given diagrams and have to answer questions which reflect the project scenario, including finding any errors in the diagrams given and perhaps identifying the correct snippet of diagram to replace the wrong part. Or you may have a diagram with just numbers in the boxes and have to show which products go in which place.

The Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)

The Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) is simply a list. It’s a list of the specialist products but grouped according to their categories and subcategories. The most powerful use of this diagram is when you’re first identifying products. You can just produce a random list of products as they came to mind. It often helps, however, to give some structure to your thinking and to go through the product categories one at a time. If you’re considering a house-building project, for example, you might think about the brickwork products first, then the woodwork products, then the electrical products and then the decorating products. As you think more about the electrical products, you might find it helpful to break them down into ...

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