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Project Management/Work Breakdown Structure

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A work breakdown structure (WBS), in project management and systems engineering, is a deliverable-oriented decomposition of a project into smaller components.[1]

Contents

Objectives and SkillsEdit

Objectives and skills for the work breakdown structure portion of Project+ PK0-003 certification include:[2]

  • Use a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary to organize project planning
    • Explain the benefits of WBS
    • Explain the levels of a WBS
    • Explain the purpose of a WBS
    • Identify the planning processes which utilize the WBS as an input
    • Critique a given WBS
    • Explain the purpose of a WBS dictionary

Objectives and skills for the schedule portion of Project+ PK0-004 certification related to work breakdown structure include:[3]

  • Given a scenario, execute and develop project schedules.
    • Work breakdown structure

ReadingsEdit

MultimediaEdit

ActivitiesEdit

  1. Review the approaches to creating a Work Breakdown Structure: Top-down and Bottom-up Project Management.
    • What approach does your organization use?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of that approach?
  2. Watch YouTube: MS Project 2013 Entering Tasks, Durations and Creating a WBS.
  3. Consider that you are planning a birthday party. Create your own Work Breakdown Structure.
  4. Name 3 benefits of having a Work Breakdown Structure
  5. Review Creating and maintaining a WBS Dictionary.
    • Create a WBS for your project management course project.
    • Create a WBS dictionary to provide detailed information about each WBS item.

Lesson SummaryEdit

  • "A work breakdown structure (WBS), in project management and systems engineering, is a deliverable-oriented decomposition of a project into smaller components. A work breakdown structure is a key project deliverable that organizes the team's work into manageable sections."[4]
  • "The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5) defines the work breakdown structure as a “A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.”'[5]
  • "The work breakdown structure visually defines the scope into manageable chunks that a project team can understand, as each level of the work breakdown structure provides further definition and detail."[6]
  • "The project team creates the project work breakdown structure by identifying the major functional deliverables and subdividing those deliverables into smaller systems and sub-deliverables."[7]
  • "A WBS also provides the necessary framework for detailed cost estimating and control along with providing guidance for schedule development and control."[8]
  • "A WBS is neither a project plan, a schedule, nor a chronological listing. It specifies what will be done , not how or when."[9]
  • Four key benefits to developing a WBS are:[10]
    • WBS forces the team to create detailed steps
    • WBS lays the groundwork for schedule and budget
    • WBS creates accountability
    • WBS creation breeds commitment
  • "The process of developing and completing a WBS breeds excitement and commitment."[11]
  • "When a project is falling behind, referring to the work breakdown structure will quickly identify the major deliverables impacted by a failing work package or late sub - deliverable."[12]
  • "A work breakdown structure allows you to "double check all the deliverables’ specifics with the stakeholders and make sure there is nothing missing or overlapping."[13]
  • "Project work breakdown structures can also be used to identify potential risks in a given project."[14]
  • "The development of the WBS normally occurs at the start of a project and precedes detailed project and task planning."[15]
  • The WBS is often created by one of the following approaches:[16]
    • Analogy Approach - The approach that is used to create a WBS by using a similar WBS (prepared for another project) as a starting point.
    • Top-down Approach - The approach that is used to create a WBS by starting with the largest deliverables of the project and breaking them down into subordinate packages.
    • Bottom-up Approach- The approach that is used to create a WBS by having team members identify as many specific tasks as possible and then grouping these tasks into larger project activities.
  • Mind Mapping - The technique used to develop a WBS through a diagram. It is used to represent concepts, ideas, tasks or other items linked to a central theme.[17]
  • "An important design principle for work breakdown structures is called the 100% rule."[18]
  • "The 100% rule states that the WBS includes 100% of the work defined by the project scope and captures all deliverables - internal, external, interim - in terms of the work to be completed, including project management."[19]
  • "Another rule commonly used when creating a WBS is the 8/80 rule. This rule says no single activity should be less than 8 hours, or greater than 80 hours."[20]
  • "A project budget can be allocated to the top levels of the work breakdown structure, and department budgets can be quickly calculated based on each project’s work breakdown structure."[21]
  • "By allocating time and cost estimates to specific sections of the work breakdown structure, a project schedule and budget can be quickly developed."[22]
  • "As the project executes, specific sections of the work breakdown structure can be tracked to identify project cost performance and identify issues and problem areas in the project organization."[23]
  • "The level of detail in a WBS makes it easier to hold people accountable for completing their tasks."[24]
  • "Decomposition is the act of breaking down deliverables in to successively smaller chunks of work to be completed in order to achieve a level of work that can be both realistically managed by the project manager and completed within a given time frame by one or more team members."[25]
  • "Work packages are the lowest level of the WBS and are pieces of work that are specifically assigned to one person or one team of people to be completed."[26]
  • "The WBS Dictionary describes each component of the WBS with milestones, deliverables, activities, scope,and sometimes dates, resources, costs, and quality."[27]
  • "The WBS Dictionary is a useful resource for project management, and should be consulted for relevant information on each component of the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS dictionary includes entries for each WBS component that briefly defines the scope or statement of the work, defines deliverables, contains a list of associated activities, and provides a list of recognized milestones to gage progress."[28]

Key TermsEdit

analogy approach
The approach that is used to create a WBS by using a similar WBS (prepared for another project) as a starting point.[29]
bottom-up approach
The approach that is used to create a WBS by having team members identify as many specific tasks as possible and then grouping these tasks into larger project activities.[30]
decomposition
The act of breaking down deliverables into successively smaller chunks of work.[31]
deliverable
Outcome or product that is produced to complete a work package or project.[32]
mind mapping
The technique used to develop a WBS through a diagram. It is used to represent concepts, ideas, tasks or other items linked to a central theme.[33]
100% Rule
The design principle of a work breakdown structure which states that the total scope and all deliverables are included.[34]
8/80 Rule
States that no single element of a work breakdown structure should be less than 8 hours, or greater than 80 hours.[35]
rolling wave planning
The method of planning down to the level of detail currently known and going back to plan deeper once more information is acquired.[36]
top-down approach
The approach that is used to create a WBS by starting with the largest deliverables of the project and breaking them down into subordinate packages.[37]
WBS (work breakdown structure)
The key project deliverable that organizes the team's work into manageable sections.[38]
WBS dictionary
Contains description of each element in a work breakdown structure.[39]
work package
The lowest level of the work breakdown structure.[40]

Review QuestionsEdit

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  1. The __________________ is a key project deliverable that organizes the team’s work into manageable sections.
    The work breakdown structure is a key project deliverable that organizes the team’s work into manageable sections.
  2. The lowest level of the work breakdown structure is called a _______________.
    The lowest level of the work breakdown structure is called a work package.
  3. The design principle of a work breakdown structure which states that the total scope and all deliverables be included is called the ____________.
    The design principle of a work breakdown structure which states that the total scope and all deliverables be included is called the 100% rule.
  4. The _____________ states that no single element of a work breakdown structure should be less than 8 hours, or greater than 80 hours.
    The 8/80 rule states that no single element of a work breakdown structure should be less than 8 hours, or greater than 80 hours.
  5. For a description of each element contained in a work breakdown structure, consult the ________________.
    For a description of each element contained in a work breakdown structure, consult the WBS dictionary.
  6. The ________________ can be referred to when a project falls behind schedule in order to identify which work packages will be impacted the most.
    The Work Breakdown Structure can be referred to when a project falls behind schedule in order to identify which work packages will be impacted the most.
  7. ________________________ is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.
    Work Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.
  8. The ____________________ is a method used to create a WBS by starting with the largest deliverables of the project and breaking them down into subordinate packages.
    The top-down approach is a method used to create a WBS by starting with the largest deliverables of the project and breaking them down into subordinate

    packages

  9. The ____________________is a method used to create a WBS by having team members identify as many specific tasks as possible and then grouping these tasks into larger project activities.
    The bottom-up approach is a method used to create a WBS by having team members identify as many specific tasks as possible and then grouping these tasks into larger project activities.
  10. The ____________________is a method used to create a WBS by using a similar WBS (prepared for another project) as a starting point.
    The analogy approach is a method used to create a WBS by using a similar WBS (prepared for another project) as a starting point.
  11. ________________________ is a diagram showing the responsibilities of each member for each task in a project. Used as a tool for communicating the hierarchy of the team and the reporting lines within a project.
    Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) is a diagram showing the responsibilities of each member for each task in a project. Used as a tool for communicating the hierarchy of the team and the reporting lines within a project.
  12. The act of breaking down deliverables into successively smaller chunks of work is called _________________.
    The act of breaking down deliverables into successively smaller chunks of work is called decomposition.
  13. ______________ is the outcome or product that is produced to complete a work package or project.
    Deliverable is the outcome or product that is produced to complete a work package or project.
  14. _________________ is a technique used to develop a WBS through a diagram. It is used to represent concepts, ideas, tasks or other items linked to a central theme.
    Mind Mapping is a technique used to develop a WBS through a diagram. It is used to represent concepts, ideas, tasks or other items linked to a central theme.
  15. ________________ is the method of planning down to the level of detail currently known and going back to plan deeper once more information is acquired.
    Rolling wave planning is the method of planning down to the level of detail currently known and going back to plan deeper once more information is acquired.

AssessmentsEdit

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  Type classification: this is a lesson resource.
  1. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  2. CompTIA: Project+ Certification Exam Objectives: PK0-003
  3. CompTIA: Project+ Certification Exam Objectives: PK0-004
  4. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  5. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  6. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  7. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  8. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  9. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  10. http://pmtips.net/blog-new/benefits-work-breakdown-structure
  11. http://pmtips.net/Blog/benefits-work-breakdown-structure
  12. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  13. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php
  14. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  15. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  16. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog871/l5_p3.html
  17. https://www.matchware.com/mind-mapping-software
  18. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  19. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  20. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-101.php
  21. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  22. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  23. https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com
  24. http://pmtips.net/Blog/benefits-work-breakdown-structure
  25. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php
  26. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php
  27. Wikipedia: Work Breakdown Structure
  28. http://project-management-knowledge.com/definitions/w/work-breakdown-structure-dictionary/
  29. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog871/l5_p3.html
  30. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog871/l5_p3.html
  31. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php Project Smart: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Purpose, Process and Pitfalls
  32. https://certification.comptia.org/docs/default-source/exam-objectives/project_glossary.pdf
  33. http://www.matchware.com/en/products/mindview/mindmapping.htm
  34. Wikipedia:Work Breakdown Structure
  35. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-101.php Project Smart: Work Breakdown Structure 101
  36. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php Project Smart: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Purpose, Process and Pitfalls
  37. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog871/l5_p3.html
  38. Wikipedia:Work Breakdown Structure
  39. http://project-management-knowledge.com/definitions/w/work-breakdown-structure-dictionary/ Project Management Knowledge: Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary
  40. https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.php Project Smart: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Purpose, Process and Pitfalls