Wbs: Work Reakdown Structure

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

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A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical breakdown of all work required to complete a project. Graphically, it is a tree structure in which the elements at a lower level consist of all the activities needed to complete the higher level. One of the reasons that projects run into trouble is that they fail to define some activities that are uncovered during the project. For example, the plan includes time for user training, but the planning process overlooks the activities needed to prepare the training materials. Using a systematic process like the WBS will not guarantee that all the activities are identified, but it is more reliable than any process in which activities are identified randomly.   The diagram below illustrates a simple WBS with two levels below the project itself. In an actual project, the activities listed in the WBS would probably be broken down into lower levels.
- Jolyon Hallows in The Project Management Office Toolkit

The WBS can be completed by a graphical or textual representation, examples of both are shown below.

Work Breakdown Structure Purpose and Limitations
The purpose of this worksheet is to:
• Identify the work to be done.
• Identify the types of resources required for the work.
• Develop estimates for each work element.
• Identify storage locations.
This worksheet does not address:
• Who will perform the work.
• When the work will be completed.

WBS Diagram

Sample WBS (Diagram)

Sample WBS (Text)

 Project
o Management and Administration
• Travel and Living
• Manage the Project
• Contingency
o Equipment Acquisition
• Acquire Hardware
• Acquire Software
o Equipment Installation
• Install Hardware
• Install Software
• Install and Test Application
o Customer Activities
• Manage the Contract