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Work Breakdown Structure

  • Date Submitted: 05/09/2011 03:53 PM
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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 different order.  

No particular software or tool is recommended for a project work plan. The Project
Manager could use MS Project, MS Excel, or even a whiteboard (reserved for the project
through the project life cycle).  



Work Plan- Work Breakdown Structure—Activity Definition

Purpose:  
The objective of this activity is to identify and organize the project into activities, sub-
tasks, and work packages needed to achieve goals. This establishes the base for the
Project Manager to estimate the duration of the project, determine the required resources
and schedule the work. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical
description of all the work that must be done to meet the needs of the customer.

Participants:  
The Project Manager develops the Work Breakdown Structure in consultation with the
core project team.

Inputs:  
Project Request Approval Form [1], Project Overview Statement [1], Quality Strategy
[1], Project Approach [2], Business Case [4]

Process:
1.   Two approaches can be used to identify project activities.  
2.   The first is the top-down approach.  
a.   Be clear about the goal in the Project Overview Statement.
b.   Break down the goal into deliverables.
c.   Identify activities that must be...

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