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Project management is a vast field often approached from one corner at a time. The ability to fight complexity of a project and strategic thinking are necessary when it comes to completing the work in its entirety. This is where work breakdown structure (WBS) fits in. But creating a WBS is not as simple as you might think. In fact, without the proper planning and understanding of each step, work breakdown structure can prove to be an ineffective process detrimentally affecting the outcome of the assignment. How can we remedy this situation? It’s hard to decide exactly how to create a professional WBS based on your specific situation.
What is work breakdown structure or WBS?
The term ‘work breakdown structure’ is used a lot in project management but do you really know what it is, and why it is important to have it.
Work breakdown structure is a hierarchical decomposition of the deliverables required to complete a project, task or activity. It is an input to the project management process for identifying activities needed to successfully deliver the project’s objective and create a work schedule for accomplishing the planned scope.
Why it is important to have work breakdown structure or WBS
The majority of project management training begins with the creation of a work breakdown structure (WBS). What is a WBS? WBS serves as the backbone of any project management system and helps an organization to better manage the many facets of a project. While developing a WBS, there are numerous steps that can be taken — those steps will vary based on the industry you’re in, the size and scope of the project, etc.
How to create a professional work breakdown structure for successful projects.
Make a team
First step in creating a professional work breakdown structure for successful project is to make a team. The team may include, the project managers and, subject-matter experts.
Gathering important documents
Second step to make a professional WBS is to gather all the documents necessary for the success of a project. These documents may include project scope statement, project charter and, project management plan.
Define major deliverables and sub deliverables
The first step in creating a WBS is to define all the major deliverables that must be produced as part of the project. For example, if you’re opening a new restaurant, these deliverables might include:
- A new restaurant location
- A menu
- A hiring plan and staff training curriculum
- An inventory and supply system
- Serving equipment (plates, glasses, utensils)
- A marketing plan
What are Deliverables?
Project deliverables are products or services created during the course of a project. They should be tied to specific goals, such as increasing sales by 10% or reducing turnover by 20%.
Define your work packages
After defining key deliverables, break them into smaller parts known as, work packages. Work package is simply the identification of work needed to complete each deliverable.
Create a WBS dictionary
WBS dictionary includes definition and, scope of different elements un work breakdown structure such as, work package ID, due date and name of the person. It must include cost of the project and work package name etc.
Estimate duration for each task
After you have a list of all your tasks and subtasks that need to be completed before you reach your goal, estimate how much time each of them will take. This should give you an idea on how much longer it will take for your project until completion.
Create WBS using different formats
There are a lot of formats available to make work breakdown structure such as,
- Text based work breakdown structure
- Tabular work breakdown structure
- Flowchart work breakdown structure
Share it with your team
After completing all the above steps, share your structure with your team.
In essence, a WBS is an organization chart for a project. It lists all the tasks that need to be done and the dependencies between them. The result is a single document that shows the big picture for each project. It contains schedules, resources, costs and any risks that might arise. With a basic idea of what a breakdown structure is, you’ll be ready to start building your own. If you want to make more influential impact, you can get assistance from a renowned project consulting platform, like Green Projects Consulting.