Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Process

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as a part of the planning process of a project may seem a complicated task to you. However, WBS is not only a part of business life or project management exams. How do you handle the difficult and large-scale tasks that you may encounter in everyday life? For me, assembling a disassembled piece of furniture I bought from Ikea is a large-scale job. 

I usually read the installation guide when I start working directly, study the material. In all circumstances, it is like impossible to achieve and produce the final furniture for me. 

However, when I simply divide the work into smaller pieces and organize it according to a scope plan, this furniture assembly job suddenly becomes more understandable to me. Inspect materials, read the installation guide, group materials, complete superstructure complete substructure, screw following numbers. This is it!

If you can't do a job in one move, divide it, divide it into parts that can be managed, and deal with it. it's pretty simple logic. After collecting project requirements and defining the project scope, we need to visually depict the scope that we get in parts that can be managed. Here is the diagram of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). 

How to Create a WBS Example

If you are looking for a way to create a WBS, after reading this part we strongly recommend this guided project of Coursera. In coursera many guided project management projects are free and making practice your own knowledge is of immeasurable value.

The work breakdown structure must cover 100 percent of the work defined within the scope of the project. At the same time, all the work contained in the work breakdown structure must coincide one-on-one with the work contained in the project scope statement. Quite similar to the project scope statement, the work breakdown structure has been agreed upon, and approved coverage by the project team and key stakeholders. It forms the scope baseline along with the project scope statement and the work breakdown structure dictionary.

So if you see the definition of creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) process, it subdivides project deliverables and project work into smaller and more manageable components called work packages. Therefore you have to decompose your complete work as part of the create work breakdown structure (WBS) process into the smaller set of work packages. A work breakdown structure (WBS) should reflect all of the project work without neglecting any. A project without a work breakdown structure (WBS) can not exist for long.

Decomposition is something like breaking the bigger component into a smaller set of components. In the create work breakdown structure (WBS) process, we simply decompose the complete project work that we caught from the scope statement into this smaller set of manageable pieces called work packages. These work packages will link to the control unit. Work packages are the minimum level of the work breakdown structure (WBS).

Work packages will be decomposed also in processes like defining the project activities and estimating cost and schedule however this decomposition will never be a part of the work breakdown structure (WBS). What we need when creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) may vary from project to project. But when creating work breakdown structure (WBS) according to best practice examples when PMBOK is taken as a reference, we essentially need a scope management plan that basically includes principles related to preparing work breakdown structure (WBS), a project scope statement to understand what work is within the scope and what work is not, and documents about the requirements of the project. 

The work breakdown structure can be created using the bottom-up technique, or it can be created using work breakdown structure (WBS) templates. Using different methods is also in the area of freedom of the project manager. work breakdown structure (WBS) forms the approved scope baseline together with work breakdown structure (WBS) Dictionary and Project Scope Statement.

Outputs of Create work breakdown structure process

  • Work breakdown structure 
  • Work breakdown structure dictionary
  • Scope baseline

Outputs Updated in Create work breakdown structure process

Inputs of Create work breakdown structure Process

Tools & Techniques used in  Creating Work Breakdown Structure Process

  • Decomposition
  • Expert judgment
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