Create a WBS: The Ultimate Guide to Using WBS

Have you ever found yourself in a project that is collateral to the seam? There seems to be no end date? No end goal too? Do you have an overly complex and undirected project going astray? Most will answer "yes" to at least one of these questions. Some may not answer because they are too busy trying to figure it out in their current project. Have you ever tried using a WBS to make it easier to work on such a project? In this article, we guide you through what a WBS is and the essential steps to take to create one.

What is WBS??

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) under project management refers to the means or method you can use to complete complex or multistep projects. WBS helps organize team tasks, large projects, into viable sections. With WBS, you can break down tasks into smaller sections to achieve productivity by making the tasks easily approachable and more manageable.

WBS can also facilitate the integration of cost, scope, and schedule baselines in efforts to ensure your project plans align. In other terms, WBS helps the project teams to accomplish their objectives besides creating the deliverables. It facilitates effective planning, implementation, administration, observation, and reporting processes.

How to create a WBS chart

1. Assemble your team and key documents

The first step in creating a work classification system is to bring the team together. Whether the team works at all sites or remotely, it is important that members take part in defining the sub-distributions.

You will also need to put these key documents together to develop the WBS: project charter, project problem statement or scope definition, all contract and agreement documents applicable, and project management practices that your organization follows.

2. Align the project with your goal

For a functional WBS, ensure that you include your project vision statement, task list containing project stages, and the results defined according to the size of the project.

Record the most important goals you are trying to achieve. This goal can be anything from developing additional software features to building missiles. Define the goals and objectives of the project. Start with the project charter (scope, purpose, and who is working on the project) to determine what it is and describe it.

3. Breakdown the project into actionable steps

Your next step is to break the most important project into smaller pieces and stops, before listing all the actions to take. Remember to focus on concrete results, not actions. Break the manifestation of a larger project into a series of steps from conception to completion.

Start splitting into project stages, specific large deliverables, or subtasks, depending on your project. What are your results? List them all and record what it takes for the successful delivery of results (sub-results, work packages, resources, participants, etc.).

4. Assign tasks to your team

Break down into all the single operations and subtasks needed to bring and deliver the results provided above. Make a list of all its tasks. Place your current work and assign it to your team. Grant each team member the tools, resources, and permissions they need to complete the task.

The takeaway

If you want your WBS to integrate with the rest of your project documents, the best source of templates is your project management software. Certain software, such as MindManager, has built-in capabilities that will assist you in building a work breakdown structure from scratch. With MindManager, you can specify your granularity and add item data quickly when creating a WBS.

The best part of using the MindManager PM tool is that your WBS data is available to you when you create your project schedule. Contact us to get more details and know how to download the software.

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