How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure

There are several ways to decide when a work package is small enough without being too small. This rule is one of the most common suggestions—a work package should take no less than eight hours of effort, but no more than 80. Other rules suggest no more than ten days or no more than a standard reporting period. In other words, if you report on your work every month, a work package should take no more than a month to complete. Gantt Charts Interactive project scheduling across teams. Kanban Boards Instantly view project progress and create customized workflows.

what is work breakdown structure

That’s why project managers need to learn how to master them. This article will help you understand the work breakdown structure and create one on your own. You can measure project performance by analyzing whether activities have finished on time and within budget. For individual tasks, you would need to run through each activity’s dates and costs individually. This will help you get a better understanding of your project’s status. When working with a large, complex project with thousands of tasks, project management can seem overwhelming.

What is the Difference Between WBS and a Work Breakdown Schedule?

This lessens the amount of time needed to complete and maintain a WBS. Note the project management deliverables, including the production of a project plan. Delineate the deliverables that the customer or an external party must meet or deliver.

what is work breakdown structure

However, the main idea is to visualize the hierarchy of your projects and make progress clear to everyone involved. On top of that, we plan to introduce color-coding automation. Users will be able to automatically color tasks – based on predefined business rules and preferences. Just think about it—if a WBS represents all the work that your teams need to put into the project, then a product backlog typical to Agile projects is sort of a WBS, too. In Agile, you break down large epics or features into smaller units as you are about to develop them and control them during the sprints.

What Are the Uses and Purposes of Work Breakdown Structures?

The second WBS level will include the ownership structure and the lower levels identify project deliverables. In simple terms, this means you split the large project into smaller, more manageable bits and create a hierarchy. Each level represents a progressively more detailed breakdown of the deliverables. Work Breakdown Structure is a visual project management technique for tracking and aligning a project’s scope of work, project budget, and schedule. Trello is a web-based project management software that uses the Kanban methodology. It offers features such as task boards, card views, due dates, and more.

  • Here are six simple steps to create a work breakdown structure.
  • A work breakdown structure is a tool used to define and group a project’s discrete work elements in a way that helps organize and plan the project.
  • This way is one of the most reliable and demanded among modern project managers.
  • Finally, break those high-level deliverables into smaller pieces for a third level of activities that need to be done to complete the project.
  • The 8/80 means that a WBS work package should not take less than 8 hours of effort and a the same time, not more than 80 .

They includes phase-based structures, deliverable-based structures and responsibility-based structures. Make sure all deliverables have been fully covered by the works defined in the Work Breakdown Structure. To create your own breakdown structure, you first need to know what to put in one. Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces to include in your work breakdown structure. This format is less visually intuitive but shows the hierarchy of tasks. Because it is a table, this format fits easily onto a page.

Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management

Project managers apply these two approaches to divide complex projects to get things done faster and efficiently. Breaking their projects down into smaller parts means that work can be performed simultaneously by different employees. The great thing about project management software is that it is designed to accommodate your work breakdown structure with some convenient features. It is important to note that work packages must be small enough to allow you to manage, coordinate, execute and monitor them easily. After all, this is the main reason for creating a WBS in the first place. And while you are at the work packages level, you also can define the time each deliverable will require for completion and their costs .

what is work breakdown structure

Create a work breakdown structure with a handy Gantt chart. Recall the previous example of the City hospital renovation. Now you will be a responsible media manager who needs to hold a big press conference related to the opening of the hospital. From opening local conferences to arranging global trade shows, event planners put together a work breakdown structure for the activity event they plan. WBS formats for medicine and healthcare emphasize different aspects of the correspondent projects. Let’s look at all these levels on a tree-like WBS in detail.

A WBS helps identify risks

It means that using any available work breakdown structure in project management example, you’ll be able to generate your own WBS without headache. For example, you have a project that consists of two global parts or key tasks. These tasks will contain certain subtasks that must be followed strictly one by one.

Adopt a standard structure for providing descriptive information for each WBS element in the WBS dictionary to ensure consistency. If some deliverables are not known, you can enter as much information as you know currently, then update the document as you learn more details. Make assignments at the beginning of a project, but allow for new assignments to be created if needed over the course of a project. That can and should be tailored to the type of project and the types of team members who need to access it.

Project Insight with Power BI Reporting and Visualization in a Generation 3 Project Business System

By identifying these tasks at this stage, you’ll avoid bottlenecks during execution. As you move from the planning to the execution stage, you’ll need a reporting feature that can deliver critical project data on progress and performance. This information will feed your decision-making and help you steer the project to a successful conclusion. Deliverables are important to define, as are the tasks that get you there—but most tasks require being broken down further in order to complete them. They’re part of a more complex task, and you want that feature in your WBS software.

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At this stage, project teams conduct required interviews, work on requirements specifications, and prepare use cases. A tree view is not the only representation of a work breakdown structure. You can also find the examples of creating a WBS in the form of a horizontal hierarchical list, which is most successfully visualized by a Gantt chart. Work breakdown structure is widely used to represent the project’s scope and deliverables in a hierarchical way.

What is the most important thing in the WBS?

To use a work breakdown structure effectively, it is important to include all components of a project (remember that 100% rule described above) but without too much detail. Turns out, there can be too much of a good thing work breakdown structure when it comes to the WBS. A key component of a work breakdown structure is the 100% rule. This means that the WBS encompasses all aspects of the project, as well as the person or team responsible for that component.

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