When it comes to dealing with big-scale projects, the scale of the project itself may be too much to manage. However, the work process is significantly eased when massive tasks are broken down into smaller, more manageable parts.
To better organize and plan for the completion of complex projects, managers might benefit from using a work breakdown structure (WBS) to identify and prioritize the myriad tasks that need to be completed.
This piece discusses the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), its use for your business, and several innovative ways to employ this idea.
What Are Work Breakdown Structures?
A project management technique for finishing a challenging, multi-step project is called work breakdown structure (WBS). It is a structured list of all the steps that need to be taken to finish a task. It’s a strategy to “divide and conquer” enormous projects to get more work done in less time and with fewer resources.
The Work Breakdown Structure “deconstructs” a large project into more manageable chunks. Each deliverable has a job or set of activities allocated to it that can be further divided into smaller tasks to suit the project’s requirements.
You can find a WBS template online to outline your WBS in the form of spreadsheets, flowcharts, lists, or Gantt charts.
The Importance of a Work Breakdown Structure
The Work Breakdown Structure’s principal function is in project scheduling. The timeframe for each task is calculated by considering the task’s time requirements that must come before and after.
Following that, the WBS offers a comprehensive outline so that the project leader understands how the project should develop and govern the workflow effectively.
There are many advantages to breaking down a big project. Using it aids you in:
- A valuable tool for ensuring no tasks are overlooked.
- Development of schedules is streamlined and made more manageable.
- Determines potential risks early on in the planning process.
- Helpful for determining how much a project will cost and where to find the necessary materials.
- Educates team members on the value of their work through visibility into its impact on the whole.
- Better interaction between the project team and other parties.
- Creates a standardized visual resource that can be used repeatedly.
Best Practices to Follow When Creating a WBS
The following are some guidelines to follow when developing a WBS.
- The manager can use the 100% rule to ensure all project-related work is documented and nothing more is added to the framework. It states that all subtasks (at whatever level) must add up to at least as much work as their parents.
- All deliverables and associated sub-deliverables must be unique, meaning they cannot appear in the WBS more than once. It’s an excellent way to prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary work.
- The 8/80 rule states that the time spent on work packages or creating deliverables must be between eight and eighty hours.
- The WBS should emphasize the desired results or deliverables rather than the tasks required to achieve those results. Ignore the how and concentrate on the what.
- Since the work is already integrated into another process, it is no need to separate it.
- Having a well-detailed WBS is a huge plus. Avoid going too in-depth, though, or people might get lost.
A Step-by-Step Guide To Creating WBSs For Your Business
A decent work breakdown model will incorporate all parts of the project without leaving out any crucial information. Building a WBS in Excel or Slide is a common and accurate approach, but both programs have limitations that may limit your flexibility.
Key activities in creating a WBS are outlined below.
1. Describe The Project
Defining the project’s scope is the first step in creating a WBS. To prevent the WBS from becoming overly cumbersome, it is essential to zero in on the project’s genuine scope.
2. Set Boundaries For Your Project
After the project’s scope has been defined and documented, you can choose what to include and exclude from the work breakdown structure (WBS).
3. Identify the Project’s Outcomes
Outcomes of this level include a Program Scope Strategy and a Vision Statement for the entire program.
4. Classify Level 1 Components
Currently, you’re working on defining the level 1 parts. However, the 100% regulations and criteria should be kept in mind while producing the Level 1 findings.
5. Disassemble Every Level-One Part
Decomposition describes the method used to break down Level 1 materials. It entails breaking down tasks into ever-smaller chunks and applying the 100% rule throughout.
6. Select Your Team Members
Find out who is responsible for what part of the whole.
7. Create A Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of a project’s schedule and associated tasks that can help you see the big picture and see how everything fits together.
Businesses can significantly benefit from WBSs as they can be helpful for any project.
The first step in creating a project schedule is developing a work breakdown structure. These standard project management charts are the basic framework for your upcoming work schedule.
It aids in guiding decisions about setting up the project scope, identifying tasks, and allocating resources. This is why many PM solutions integrate the ability to make a Gantt chart within their WBS features.
Teams can track project milestones, deliverables, and progress using dedicated project management tools and templates. You can also find simple online collaboration tools, including Gantt charts, easy scheduling, task breakdown structures, and project outlines.