Work breakdown structure, helps you divide bigger and larger tasks into smaller chunks of work called tasks or work items. This helps the team handle the work easily and it also supports planning, scheduling, budgeting and controlling the scope easier. In the last post, you understood what the project planning is and how we plan a project. Here, we’ll move forward to the next step of breaking miles stones into tasks.
What is Work Breakdown Structure?
WBS is logical decomposition of the work to be done in a project and represented in graphical or outline form. A WBS shows the work as tasks and deliverable. A WBS is an organized list of tasks and it is put in a Work Breakdown Structure Document.
Importance of Work Breakdown Structure
- Clarity of the scope and tasks
- Improved planning and estimates
- Better understanding of tasks
- Improved team performance
- Easier control and reporting
- Clear milestones and deliverables
Work Breakdown Structure Guiding Principles
- List all the tasks and deliverables
- Keep updating the document during the project
- Use unique identifiers
- Define levels of the structure
- Create WBS Dictionary and Glossary
- Involve the team in the process
Factors Influencing Work Breakdown Structure
- The project life cycle used
- The project life cycle phases
- Number of deliverables
- Type of the project
- Complexity of the project
- Team size and resources
- Risks involved with the project
Work Breakdown Structure vs. Project Schedule.
A WBS and a Project Schedule are not the same thing. The WBS is part of the project schedule and helps in developing a schedule, but it is not a schedule itself. It does not have any sequence, time estimates, dependencies, or assigned resources. When all these factors are applied to a WBS then it is converted to a Project Schedule.
How to Create Work Breakdown Structure
- Use a WBS template
- Identify all major deliverables
- Break deliverables into sub-components
- Break sub-components into tasks
- Assign unique identifiers to elements
- Create WBS Dictionary & Glossary
Work Breakdown Structure Document
A WBS Document can be presented as Outline View, Hierarchical View, Tabular View, or Tree Structure View and contains the following:
- Level, WBS code, and element name
- Tasks in graphical or outline form
- WBS Dictionary
- Glossary of Terms
These brief and short tips can help you easily grasp the concepts of WBS without boggling your mind with useless theory and beating about the bush.