A Work Breakdown Structure is a process involved in project management. This process of breaking down the entire project objective into small and simple tasks helps in maintaining the project’s workflow.
Instead of pointing out the workflow of an individual action to be accomplished in a project, the Work Breakdown Structure clarifies the process by focusing on the deliverables. The more defined the tasks are, the more simplified the breakdown structure can be designed.
The project breakdown must be done based on the hierarchy of the tasks involved. The WBS must only be handled by the project managers since they bear the responsibility of deciding the hierarchy and the timeline for the tasks.
Defining the Fundamentals of the project helps you have a clear idea of what you are working on. Defining project fundamentals makes it easy to break down the tasks into manageable pieces. The project goals and objectives are derived from this process.
Creating a Deliverable-Based Structure makes the breakdown easy. Rather than focusing on the project activity, the work breakdown structure must be focused on delivering deliverables. This helps in maintaining the scope of the project and managing project tasks accordingly.
Organizing tasks and activities makes the workflow more structured. Identify all the activities of a project and manage the tasks based on their dependencies. Tasks must be clearly organized under related project activities to depict the dependency. This helps the team members identify and understand the project scope and their responsibilities.
Assign specific tasks to a specific team or to an individual team member. This helps in avoiding work overlap and makes the responsibilities of deliverables clear. By assigning individual assignments to individual teams, the workflow is now more meticulous.
When you wonder how to create a Work Breakdown Structure for your project, you must first be aware of what format you are going to use. To document a work breakdown structure, there are several formats that can be used.
Chart format: It is a visual representation of the project tasks in the form of charts. It consists of all the required details to be displayed and the dependency of tasks. This shows the overview of the tasks designed in the Work Breakdown Structure.
Tabular format: An organized format of the representation that distinguishes all the tasks under relevant titles. This helps team members to refer to tasks relevant to their work. This representation also creates a conceptual boundary for the hierarchy of project elements.
Hierarchical structure: An organized form of representation of tasks, with all tasks organized in a hierarchy. It is a tabular representation of tasks that helps you maintain the hierarchy of project elements.
Outline structure: A presentation with components, dependencies, and the timeframe of project elements. It is a simple text work breakdown, showing the hierarchy of tasks in the project. This drafts an outline of the working project for the entire team.
WBS Dictionary: A hierarchical structure of project elements, formatted like a dictionary, which briefly describes each work package. This form of visualization helps team members clarify the scope of tasks assigned and understand their responsibilities.
By following some simple steps, creating a work breakdown structure can be a very easy task.
- Determine the project aim:
Determine and describe the project aim by considering the deliverables of the project. As a result, each team member has a clear goal for the working project.
- Manage and list all the deliverables:
After describing the project goals and aims, first, create and list out all the possible deliverables of the project. Having more deliverables makes the aim of the project easy to understand.
- Highlight the project deliverables:
By making the project objective clear, now you have to determine the key deliverables of the project. Identify the project deliverables and sub-deliverables of the project. This allows you to have a clear idea of how to assign and where to assign the tasks.
- Derive Tasks and Activities:
By dividing the key deliverables of the project, you derive the tasks and activities of the project. Break the key deliverables into small, manageable tasks. This helps you create a systematic workflow throughout the project. Breaking down the project into simple and manageable tasks makes it easy to derive and manage deliverables.
- Create Documentation:
Create a dictionary-like document that includes the scope of the project and determines elements and tasks. This details a briefing for the team members on what tasks they would be working on. This documentation would also contain information such as work package name, team to which the task is assigned, estimated cost, etc. This helps the team understand the work package better.
- Create a formatted WBS
Choose any one of the formats of WBS to design a visualized text-based Work Breakdown Structure. If WBS is done using an online tool, managers and team members can collaborate in real time. Just by sharing a secured link, the team gains access to it. By allowing the team to refer through the Work Breakdown Structure, project managers can make sure that the deliverables and the tasks assigned are done in the correct pattern.
Due to the advantages of WBS, almost every organization has begun to adopt these feasible features. Some similar concepts like Gantt charts help an organization optimize their project workflow accordingly. Due to the wide use of these concepts, developers have been working on developing tools to help organizations in this aspect.
The availability of these tools is of two types.
Online tools help project managers create a very systematic and organized work schedule. Using these tools allows the organization and managers to stay up to date on the progress of the project in real-time. These tools are easy to use and customize.
- Easy to use.
- Available and accessible to everyone.
- Updates the work progress in real-time.
- Keeps stakeholders updated and accessible to the deliverables.
Offline tools are project management software that is available to install and use. Organizations use such tools to manage their day-to-day workflow. These tools create a text-based outline of the project in the form of a document and are shared with the project team. These documents benefit from preserving data and maintaining direct contact with team members since all the credential protocols are done offline.
- Helps improve relationships among team members.
- Preserves organization data.
- Organizations can create their own organized template.
- Helps in identifying risks.
- Wide range of templates.
- MS Project
- Open Workbench
- WBS Schedule Pro
This article helps you clearly understand the working process of a work breakdown structure and how to create an effective Work Breakdown Structure for your project.
Organizations have adopted the concept of Work Breakdown Structure to design and organize their project work more conveniently.
By using online tools and software, any organization can easily create a WBS document to manage and help maintain the goals and objectives of the project.
Work Breakdown Structure is a very helpful concept in project management. This helps project managers have a clear understanding of the deliverables of the project. It also provides an overview of the tasks assigned to team members.
For project managers, it is very important to understand the importance of the work breakdown structure in a project. They must have a clear idea of the types and formats of Work Breakdown Structure and methods to use them.
To learn and understand more about project management and Work breakdown structure, enroll now to Sprintzeal’s master training program in PMP Certification Training Course and get professionally certified by PMI.
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