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Work Breakdown

NOTE: The below article details this feature for our customers utilizing our Kahua for Owner’s and Kahua for GC’s applications, which excludes custom workflow or configuration. Specific customer configuration, customers utilizing other versions of these applications, or custom application features may differ in functionality or processes to those outlined below. For more details on training guides specific to your company, please check with your company IT or Domain Administrator prior to submitting a request to Kahua Support.


Work Breakdown Overview

The Work Breakdown application is intended to serve as the crux of cost management – it is the central ‘ledger’ upon which your project’s cost information will be displayed and financial health of a project may be interpreted. The Work Breakdown app is where the initial activity code / cost code structure for your project is established – often, your company will have defaulted activity codes into this structure in a template, so that you have a set of codes in your project to utilize.

These activity codes are used throughout all of your Cost Management applications to tie budget, expenses (Commitments, Pay apps, etc.) to these activity codes. As you enter details in these other applications, the Work Breakdown application will update, displaying the latest information pulled from each application to give your team a financial picture of your project end to end.

The codes are hierarchical, meaning you may expand or collapse them to provide your team with a summary view of the project, or detail at a line item level.

The values in each column will be dependent on the type of record and status of that record – for instance, if your company has named a column ‘Approved Budget’ – this column may be programmed to populate automatically with any Budget records in an approved status for each activity code. Thus, users are not populating the Work Breakdown – instead, other applications will automatically fill in the Work Breakdown as documents increment through statuses.

Viewing the Work Breakdown Components

In your project, navigate to the Work Breakdown application by opening the Work Breakdown app in your Apps menu under Cost Management.

If your company created your project from a specific template, you likely have a code structure already in place. However, if you do not, you should confirm with your Domain Administrator whether they are responsible for creating the structure in your project.

When in the application, notice the Work Breakdown view displays one line item (likely titled ‘Project’ or ‘Project Total’). This is the top level of your cost structure and allows users to see cost values at a sum total across the project in each column. The Work Breakdown has two important components: 1) Activity Codes that run vertically and 2) Columns that run horizontally to display various cost documents’ information to your team.

Understanding Activity Codes 

Activity Codes are your projects’ cost codes that allow you to tie cost information (Budget line items, commitment line items, etc.) to a specific code. This enables detailed reporting and analysis of a projects’ cost. Activity code structures are hierarchical and may be based upon a company standard in place, GL codes from an ERP system or your SOVs (CSI codes, etc.) dictated by your project scope.

To drill down into the various levels of your activity codes, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the small arrow to the left of the Activity Code displayed. This will expand the structure by one level, allowing you to see summary line items below the project total.
  2. Continue to drill down deeper into the activity code structure by continuously clicking on the arrow to the left of a code. If a code does NOT have an arrow, this means the code is the lowest level code and does not have a ‘child’ code below it.

Interpreting Work Breakdown Columns

Your company is able to customize the columns that display in the Work Breakdown application. By default, the tool will come equipped with columns that represent various types of cost records (Budget, Budget Changes, Contracts, Pay Requests, etc.) in various statuses. The type of document and the status drive which column values appear in, as those values are entered in the respective application.

Note that you will not be editing values in the Work Breakdown application, but instead values will be populated automatically as the records are entered in other applications and as they increment status (whether manually, or through workflow, depending on your company’s processes).

Columns may be populated by the tool one of two ways:

  1. Direct correlation columns – columns that correlate directly to one status of one type of record. For instance, an Approved Budget column likely pulls from the Budget application, and only includes any values in an Approved status.
  2. Calculated columns – if your company customized the structure, they may choose to include columns that are calculated (such as Variance, Anticipated Final Cost, etc.). These columns are built to calculate based off of other columns’ values or numerous types of records. For instance, a single column may sum all Issues, Change Requests (regardless of status), Projected Change Orders and Projected Contracts to create a column intended to track Potential Costs. Check with your Domain Admin for any company-specific column structure detail if needed.

For any Direct Correlation Columns, Kahua enables users to drill into further detail regarding where a value originates. Notice that several line items (only at the lowest level code) may have blue hyperlinks. Clicking on a hyperlink will open a window that displays the type of record, record name, and detail that constitutes the value you see in the column. Clicking on the hyperlink in this window will open the relevant application and record so you may see further detail.


Additional Ways to View the Work Breakdown Structure:

  1. To expand (or collapse) the entire structure with one click, feel free to utilize the arrow in the far left header of the Work Breakdown columns. This will auto-expand all line items, exposing the lowest level codes.
  2. To view only the lowest level codes (and not any summary line items), users may utilize the ‘View’ drop down above the Work Breakdown structure and change to the Activities view. This view will filter out any high level / summary activity codes, and only display a flat list of the lowest level codes.
  3. To filter out any line items with no values (such that you only view activity codes with cost detail associated with them – whether that be budget, commitments, etc.), select the checkbox Only Show Rows With Values.
  4. To remove specific columns from your view (always can be added back to the view by reopening the application or re-selecting), use the ‘pyramid’ icon to the left of the view drop down to uncheck those columns you wish to hide in your view. This can create a less cluttered view, should you be looking to review simply one piece of your ledger rather than the entire financial picture of the project.

Note: Your column names may differ from the below screenshot sample. Recall that your company can customize your columns (likely, your company created a standard structure during deployment), and thus may have specific calculated columns, terminology differences, or may have hidden entire sections of the standard column structure from you.

Reports in Work Breakdown

In order to pull any standard, or custom reports, that your company has available, click on the Reports button at the top of the screen in the action bar.

Any available cost reports will be displayed here – clicking on a report and clicking View will render the report in a PDF view in Kahua. Users may then open in their default PDF viewer, or select from the arrow (displayed below) to choose either Excel or CSV.

Select the arrow to the left side of this icon to choose either CSV or Excel, if you desire to open in another program beyond your default PDF viewer. 

Note that you will also have standard (and potentially, custom) reports in your individual cost applications, but often summary or ACR reports demonstrating overall project financials will be stored in this location.

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