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Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

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

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Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

  1. 1. Project Planning Work breakdown structures (WBS) Project Management, project planning, templates and advice
  2. 2. Project planning • 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.
  3. 3. 1. WBS: Task decomposition and activity definition Inputs Outputs Topic/knowledge area Requirements, key milestones
  4. 4. What does a WBS look like? D C E B A F
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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 to right • Put the sub tasks / deliverables under each key deliverable. You should end up with a hierarchy with each deliverable or key task broken down in its component parts (tasks)
  7. 7. Example WBS • wbs
  8. 8. 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 and how.
  9. 9. Checklist • does it allow you to estimate costs accurately? • can you identify one person who is accountable for each work package? • can you clearly define the acceptance criteria for each work package? • 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.
  10. 10. WBS resources • Work breakdown structure example • Practice standard for work breakdown structures • Project Management, Dennis Lock • Work breakdown structure template