WBS Dictionary - A Beginner's Guide

By Nandini

Last updated on Mar 18 2022

WBS Dictionary - A Beginner's Guide

Creating and Maintaining a WBS Dictionary

 

WBS Dictionary Definition

A Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary is a tool that one can use to help them organize and manage their work. It is a system that enables you to track the progress of tasks and their dependencies to determine when tasks are completed more efficiently. A WBS dictionary collects all the information related to work items, including their definitions, descriptions, requirements, dependencies, and risks.

Also, you can use this tool to help you create and maintain a work breakdown structure (WBS). A WBS is a hierarchical system that organizes all the tasks and resources required to complete a project.

 

Benefits of Using a WBS Dictionary

 

  • Reduced Complication

It helps you avoid confusion and wasted time by ensuring that all tasks are completed correctly.

 

  • Identification of Interdependent tasks & Priorities

It allows you to more easily see which tasks depend on other tasks, making it easier to identify potential problems and resolve them.

 

  • Reduced Project delays & failure

It can help prevent project delays by ensuring that all required resources are available at the right time.

 

  • Effective estimation of time & cost

It can help you avoid misunderstandings and errors when creating or modifying work breakdown structures.

 

  • Assistance to track progress and status of work items.

 

  • Enables you to manage resources more effectively.

 

  • Confirms that all work is assigned to the correct WBS.

 

  • Allows you to track the progress of the project efficiently.

 

WBS Dictionary in Project Management

A WBS dictionary is a database containing information about all the work elements required to complete a project. This information can be used to create a work breakdown structure (WBS) which will help you identify and track the progress of each task.

 

A WBS dictionary is typically a two-dimensional spreadsheet that lists each project stage's tasks, resources, and dependencies. The table can be sorted in any order and include columns for task name, description, start date, end date, duration, and other relevant information.

 

The purpose of a Work breakdown dictionary is to help you manage your projects by making sure that all the tasks are assigned to the correct resources and that all the dependencies are appropriately identified. It will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that you complete tasks on time.

 

Read on to know about Project Management Framework Guide.

 

Example of a WBS Dictionary

There is a simple process to create and maintain a WBS Dictionary for your Project in Visual Studio/MS Word, Notepad++ or TextEdit on Mac OS.

 

  1. Open Visual Studio/MS Word, Notepad++ or TextEdit on your computer and create a new project.

 

  1. Select the Project type “WBS Dictionary” from the Templates menu.

 

  1. Add a new WBS Dictionary entry for your project by selecting the “New Entry” button from the WBS Dictionary toolbar.

 

  1. Type the following information and click the "OK" button: Name of project, description of the project, and resources used in your project (if any).

 

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) dictionary example includes the following information:

 

  1. The name of the project

 

  1. The location of the project

 

  1. The type of project (i.e. residential, commercial, etc.)

 

  1. The date of the project

 

  1. The start and end dates of the project

 

  1. The number of workers involved in the project

 

  1. The number of materials required for the project

 

  1. The types and quantities of each material required for the project

 

Checklist for Setting up WBS Dictionary

 

When setting up your work breakdown dictionary, you will need to make sure that it includes the following items:

 

  1. A list of all the products and services your business offers.
  2. The specific descriptions of each product or service.
  3. The unit prices for each product or service.
  4. The quantities of each product or service you will need to produce.
  5. The dates by which you want the products or services to be delivered

 

When should a WBS Dictionary be used?

 

A WBS dictionary should be used at every stage of the construction project, beginning with the planning phase. You will need to identify all the materials and components used in the project during this point. You will also need to determine how many pieces each material will yield and when required.

 

Once the planning phase is complete, use your work breakdown structure dictionary to track the actual materials delivered to each site. This information will help ensure that all materials are provided on time and following your specifications.

 

Finally, use your WBS dictionary to keep track of the schedule requirements for each stage of the construction project. This information will help ensure that all construction phases are completed on schedule and within budget.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Estimating a WBS Dictionary

 

You need to know a few things to estimate the work breakdown structure dictionary.

 

The first thing you need to do is determine the size of your project. Once you have that detail, you can use the following formula to calculate how many work packages or tasks will be in your WBS:

 

 

WBS = Tasks x Duration

 

 

Once you have the number of tasks and duration for each work package, you can estimate the WBS dictionary.

 

To estimate the WBS dictionary, create a list of all the tasks in your project.

 

Next, divide each task into four categories: preparatory, execution, monitoring/control, and termination.

 

From there, evaluate how long it will take to complete each task based on its category and complexity.

 

Finally, add up all the estimates for each category and multiply by 4 to get your total assessment for the WBS dictionary.

 

 

A WBS dictionary is a critical tool for any construction project. It estimates the materials, labour and other resources required for a particular construction project.

 

 

There are a few tasks you must keep in mind when estimating a Work breakdown dictionary:

 

  1. The size and complexity of the project will affect the size and complexity of the WBS dictionary needed.

 

  1. The type of material, labour, and resource involved in the project will also affect the quantity required in the WBS dictionary.

 

  1. The order in which various materials, labour, and resources are scheduled will also affect the quantity required in the WBS dictionary.

 

  1. Changes or additions to the original plan may necessitate changes to the quantity estimates in the WBS dictionary.

 

  1. The accuracy of the estimates provided by a WBS dictionary will depend on how well it was developed and how accurately it reflects actual quantities and proportions of materials, labour and other resources used during construction projects.

 

Types of work breakdown structures

 

There are 3 types of work breakdown structures that can be used in a business:

 

  1. Standard work breakdown structure

This work breakdown structure is mainly used in companies where employees have fixed hours and must complete specific tasks within those fixed hours.

 

  1. Project work breakdown structure

This type of work breakdown structure is most commonly used in companies where employees are assigned specific projects and are allowed to complete them in their own time as long as they meet the deadlines set for the project.

 

  1. Time-and-motion study work breakdown structure

This type of work breakdown structure is most commonly used in companies where employees are randomly assigned different tasks and are monitored to track how much time they spend on each task and how efficient they are at completing it.

 

Methods with Examples of WBS Dictionary

Task breakdown structures are used when a company has a lot of small tasks that need to be completed. For example, a law firm might have a task structure where each lawyer must complete one specific task.

Project breakdown structures are used when a company has a large project to be completed. For example, Apple might have a project structure where each department is responsible for completing one specific part of the project.

Program breakdown structures are used when a company has multiple projects that need to be completed together. Work Breakdown Structure example: Nike might have a program structure where each division is responsible for completing one specific part of the overall program.

 

Methods of Creating Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary

 

A few methods can be used to create a WBS dictionary.

 

Spreadsheets

The first method is to use a spreadsheet. All you must do is enter the information about each task, task duration, and resource requirements into the spreadsheet.

 

ERP system

Another method is to use an ERP system such as SAP or Oracle E-Business Suite. This method is more efficient because it allows you to track all the tasks and resources in one place.

 

Software Program

The last method is to use a software program such as Microsoft Project or Basecamp. This method is easier to use but may not be as accurate because it does not track all the details about each task. Ways of creating a WBS dictionary.

 

ERP System: Choosing the Right Technology for your Business is Important!

 

There are many benefits of using an ERP system for your business. An ERP system helps companies manage their operations more efficiently and effectively. It can help reduce costs, improve performance, and make it easier to track financial data.

 

Here are some of the virtues of using an ERP system:

 

  • Improved Efficiency: An ERP system can help businesses save time and money by automating various processes and making them more efficient. It can deduct the amount of time needed to complete tasks, increasing productivity and decreasing costs.

 

  • Improved Performance: An ERP system can help businesses achieve better performance by providing comprehensive information on all aspects of a company's operations. It can help managers make better decisions and improve overall operational efficiency.

 

  • More Accurate Financial Data: An ERP system can help businesses keep track of their finances more accurately by tracking all financial transactions in a centralized location. It makes it easier to identify trends and make informed decisions about future investments.

 

  • Reduced Costs: By automating various processes, an ERP system can save companies money on costs associated with hiring staff or purchasing equipment. In addition, it can also reduce the time needed to comply with regulations related to financial reporting.

 

How to select the right tool for creating a WBS dictionary?

 

Many tools can be used for creating a WBS dictionary. However, the best tool depends on the specific needs of the project.

 

Some of the critical factors to consider when choosing a Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary include:

 

  • The type of project: If the project is a small one, then a simple word processor like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice would be sufficient. However, if the project is vast and complex, a more comprehensive tool like SolidWorks or Inventor may be required.

 

  • The number of resources: A WBS dictionary should have enough capacity to store all the resources involved in the project. It includes physical and intellectual resources such as drawings, specifications, models, etc.

 

  • The ease of use: A WBS dictionary should be easy to use so that you don't have to spend time learning to use it before starting your project.

 

  • The price: A WBS dictionary should be affordable so that you can afford to purchase it without feeling burdened by its costs.

 

Many different tools can be used to create a WBS dictionary. The most important thing is to find the right tool that will suit your needs and requirements.

 

Tools used for creating WBS dictionary

Some of the recognized tools that can be used for this purpose are:

 

  1. Excel

Excel is widely used software for creating and managing business data. It can be used to create a WBS dictionary by organizing all the information related to work packages into separate cells.

 

  1. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a free online spreadsheet app that can create a WBS dictionary. It allows you to quickly enter information about work packages, resources, and deadlines into columns and rows, which makes it easy to see all the details at one glance.

 

  1. Project Management Software (PMS)

A PMS can create a WBS dictionary by providing resource management, task management, project tracking, and more. Some popular PMSs can be used for this purpose are Microsoft Project or Agile Project Manager (APM).

 

  1. Jira

Jira is an excellent tool for managing projects, and it also has features that make it perfect for creating WBS dictionaries. It has many factors that make it easy to use, and it is also very user-friendly.

 

The best tools in the industry

  1. Microsoft Excel

Excel is a flexible tool that can be used for various purposes, including creating WBS dictionaries.

 

  1. SAP BW

SAP BW is ERP software that can manage projects and tasks, ideal for creating WBS dictionaries.

 

  1. CMMS

CMMS (computer management system) is a comprehensive software solution that includes project management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and work order management. CMMS can be used to create WBS dictionaries and other related information systems.

 

10 Quick Tips and Techniques to Create a WBS Dictionary

A WBS dictionary is a tool used to track a project's progress. It helps to ensure that all tasks are completed on time and within budget.

 

There are a few tasks you must have in mind when creating your WBS dictionary:

 

  1. Make sure that the definitions for each task are specific and concise.

 

  1. Label each task with a unique number to identify it later.

 

  1. Use simple language so that everyone involved in the project can understand it.

 

  1. Include pictures or drawings if necessary to make the task straightforward.

 

  1. Make sure that all deadlines are clearly defined and referenced in the dictionary.

 

  1. Add any notes or comments about the task as needed, but be sure to keep them confidential until after it has been completed.

 

  1. Always use a standard format when entering data into your WBS dictionary so that everyone working on the project can understand it quickly and easily.

 

  1. Keep your WBS dictionary up-to-date as changes occur throughout the project timeline so that everyone remains informed about what needs to be done next.

 

  1. Finally, always have a backup copy of your WBS dictionary if something happens to your original document – you never know!

 

To get hands-on training on WBS and various other project management tools, visit the course, Certified Associate in Project Management.

 

Conclusion

 

A WBS dictionary is a project management tool that helps manage the project by defining, organizing, and recording all of the information needed to describe a product. To create a WBS dictionary, you must know what type of products you will develop. The process of creating a WBS dictionary is not very difficult. It will take time, but it will be worth your efforts because it can help you save time on future projects.

To learn more about such tools and skills required for Project Management visit Sprintzeal. We are an ATO (Accredited Training Organization), and we offer various certification training in diverse fields.

 

About the Author

Sprintzeal   Nandini

With over 3 years of experience in creating informative, authentic, and engaging content, Nandini is a technology content writer who is skilled in writing well-researched articles, blog posts, newsletters, and other forms of content. Her works are focused on the latest updates in E-learning, professional training and certification, and other important fields in the education domain.

Recommended Resources

Project Controlling and its Importance in Project Management

Project Controlling and its Importance in Project Management

Article


Process Maps - How to Create and Use Them

Process Maps - How to Create and Use Them

Article


PMP or CAPM – which is better?

PMP or CAPM – which is better?

Article


TRENDING NOW