Creating a Work Breakdown Structure

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is an essential part of organizing a project. Once you understand what a WBS is and how it can help you succeed in project management, you’ll always want to have one in place for each and every project that you work on.

In our previous post, we covered the essential element of developing a project scope statement, which describes, in detail, the deliverables and the work needed to create a product, service, or result. Now, let’s cover the benefits that you can reap from creating a WBS.

What Is a Work Breakdown Structure?

A WBS is a graphical decomposition of project deliverables. It is the “family tree.”

It organizes, defines, and displays deliverables to achieve final project objectives, and it provides a way to break down project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components or work packages.

Work packages provide the basis for more accurate scheduling, budgeting, communicating, and allocating of responsibility. They also help with identifying and avoiding risks, and they assist with procurements and quality. Plus, controlling a project can become easier with the help of a WBS.

Do You Need a Work Breakdown Structure All the Time?

Yes! A WBS is so valuable that it should be done even for the smallest project.

What Are the Biggest Reasons for Using a WBS?

There are many benefits to using a WBS. For example, it:

  • Ensures that deliverables are not missed, helps prevent changes, and supports identifying risks by work packages
  • Provides the project team with an understanding of where they fit into the overall project management plan
  • Facilitates communication, stakeholder engagement, and cooperation between the project team and other stakeholders
  • Provides the basis for estimating staff, cost, and time
  • Focuses teams on what needs to be done, which can improve project performance

How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure

Even if you’ve never created a WBS or worked with one before, learning all about it can be a valuable asset that you can use to make yourself a more effective project manager.

RMC offers a one-day by request course, Creating a Winning Work Breakdown Structure, found in our Live Instructor-Led Course Catalog, under the Tools and Fundamentals section. Contact us to enroll. This course teaches you the process of creating a WBS, and gives you the opportunity to begin creating a WBS for your current real-world project, all while earning 7 PDUs.

A Work Breakdown Structure can improve efficiency, it can help you plan a project much more effectively, and it can be a useful tool that can help you successfully complete any project, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to implement it into your workflow.  You can also learn more about the WBS by listening to Rita Mulcahy’s take.

A whitepaper by RMC Learning Solutions, “6 Essential Elements to Effective Project Management.”