Work breakdown structures (WBS) in project planning. What are work breakdown structures, why use them and how to create them. Includes example image of a wbs and links to resources. Slides used for project planning workshop. For more guides to creating a WBS and examples of work breakdowns see https://www.stakeholdermap.com/plan-project/example-work-breakdown-structures.html
Work breakdown structures (WBS)
Project Management, project planning, templates and advice
• Plans are statements of intent. They define what
the project is intended to achieve and how we will
to achieve it.
• Planning may occur at several levels and coincides
with key points in the project lifecycle.
• Planning follows a clear sequence.
1. WBS: Task decomposition and activity definition
Inputs Outputs Topic/knowledge
What does a WBS look like?
Step 1 WBS: Task decomposition
• “The definition of what the project must produce
…is a cornerstone of the entire project
management process and if we don’t do this
thoroughly or correctly, the project can only
succeed through pure luck!” The Project Group: Academy
How to create a WBS
• On post-its List out all of the project tasks you can think
off in 10 – 15 mins
• Get a whiteboard or use a blank wall
• Write the end product on a post-it and put it at the top
of the whiteboard
• Put the key deliverables underneath working from left
• Put the sub tasks / deliverables under each key
You should end up with a hierarchy with each deliverable
or key task broken down in its component parts (tasks)
Why plan as a team?
• To ensure each chunk of work is captured.
• To improve accuracy.
• To produce a schedule that the team buy into.
• To agree a common language.
• To have a clear idea across the team of what, when
• does it allow you to estimate costs accurately?
• can you identify one person who is accountable for each
• can you clearly define the acceptance criteria for each work
• does the activity contain multiple risks of different types? If
so you may want to break it down some more.
• does the work require similar resources? If so you may want
to break it down some more.
• Work breakdown structure example
• Practice standard for work breakdown structures
• Project Management, Dennis Lock
• Work breakdown structure template