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what is WBS in Project Management?

This page describes about WBS in project management.

It is a deliverable oriented hierarchy based decomposition of work into smaller manageable pieces of work. WBS is the short form of Work Breakdown Structure used in project planning process group.

Project management team, project team, key stake holders and project manager does analysis of the project scope statement to create the WBS.

They utilizes following factors/techniques to create the WBS:
• Project life cycle of similar previous projects
• WBS template of previously completed projects
• Historical information of projects available in company's lessons learned database.

Following are the reasons of creation of WBS for a project:
• Avoid project extension and hence avoid budget overrun
• To avoid failure of the delivery as per features expected
• To have clarity on work assignments, objectives, deliverables
• To have effective cost and schedule estimation
• Clarity on responsibility assignments on various project activities.

WBS (Work Breakdown structure) Template

WBS template

The figure depicts basic WBS template used in project management. As shown tasks are divided into sub tasks and sub tasks are further divided into easily manageable work packages(WPs). From this RAM (Responsibility Assignment Matrix) is developed to assign human resouces to the different activities of the WBS.

Other than this major items WBS template (or WBS document) covers following:
• Project deliverables with milestones
• Assignment of unique identifiers of each WBS components
• Project boundaries clearly mentioning deliverables for each phase required or not required to be delivered.
• Initial RAM(Responsibility Assignment Matrix).
• Initial Communication Plan
• Initial Defined risks(which will be taken into risk register later)
• Product/project features/specifications
• Approved scope change as required