Work Breakdown Structure Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

This has not been written by me but learners working on project management will find this useful.

Introduction to the WBS

The Work Planning process is divided into three phases, viz. Work Breakdown Structure
(WBS) Development, Time and Cost estimation, and Schedule development.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical description of all the work that
must be done to meet the needs of the customer. While the three activities, viz. WBS
development, time and cost estimation, and schedule development are listed in a certain
order in the framework, a Project Manager who has gained some experience in the
process may actually perform the three activities in a ...view middle of the document...

b. Break down the goal into deliverables.
c. Identify activities that must be performed from the beginning to the
completion of the project.
d. Break down the deliverables into activities.
e. Successively decompose work into smaller, more manageable components
until you are satisfied that the work is defined at a sufficient level of detail to
allow you to estimate time, cost and resource requirements. The purpose is to
provide better management control.
3. Another approach to identify project activities is the bottom-up approach.
a. The entire planning team agrees to the first-level breakdown.
b. The team is divided into as many groups as there are first-level activities.
c. Each group then makes a list of the activities that need to be completed in
order to complete the first-level activities.
d. Someone in the group identifies an activity and tells it to the group. If the
group agrees, then the activity is written on a slip of paper and put in the
middle of the table. The process repeats itself until no new ideas are
e. The group then sorts the slips into activities that seem to be related to one
another. This helps the planning team add missing activities or remove
redundant ones.
f. Once the team is satisfied it has completed the activity list for the first-level
breakdown, the members are finished. Each group then reports to the entire
planning team the results of its work. Final critiques are given, missing
activities added, redundant activities removed.

4. Define for each task how the work will actually be organized and accomplished.
5. Check that all deliverables have been accounted for.
6. Account for reviewing tasks and documentation.
7. Verify to see if the lower-level items are both necessary and sufficient for completion
of the decomposed items.
8. Verify to see if each item is clearly and completely defined.

Work Breakdown Structure

1. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is used to develop and confirm a common
understanding of the scope of the project.
2. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed description of the
project deliverables.
3. Breaking down work into a hierarchy of activities, tasks, sub-tasks, and work
packages is called decomposition. Decomposition involves subdividing the major
project deliverables or sub-deliverables into smaller, more manageable
components until the deliverables are defined in sufficient detail to support
development of project activities.
4. The items at the lowest level of a branch may be referred to as work packages.
5. The top-down approach begins at the goal level and...

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