Exploring Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management

The WBS is the most basic subdivision of a project. It focuses on dividing large projects into smaller and simpler chunks of work and provides information about it. A good WBS will help you manage scope, schedule, and budget. You need to give it the importance it deserves to make sure you get all the crucial aspects of Project Scope Management.

Your project charter should include a list of activities that need to be completed. This is usually called a work breakdown structure, which is made of smaller lists you can complete individually. This article will look at the advantages of breaking down your project into smaller tasks.

What Do You Understand by WBS?

The WBS, or Work Breakdown Structure, is a project management tool that breaks a project into smaller, more manageable pieces. A list of the deliverables and output divided into small works can be thought of as work packages.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing work packages −

  • Add your existing work package to the schedule

  • View the estimated cost and complete total

  • Add estimated start and end dates to the work package

When Should You Make a WBS?

Ideally, the project manager will create the WBS following a comprehensive requirements−gathering session. After deciding on the features for your project, you'll be able to clearly map out the progress of your project and effectively address any stakeholder requirements during its course.

Who Should Be Included in Creating a WBS?

According to the PMI, an important part of project management is creating a work breakdown structure; this should involve the following −

  • Project Managers

  • Project Management Staff

  • Project Teams

  • Identified stakeholders

What Is "ITTO" Within The WBS?

The ITTO framework comprises four major categories− Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs. For example, we need input like scope statements or documentation about the requirements to create the WBS for a project. We also need tools such as decomposition to break the large project into smaller pieces. The outputs include finalized WBS and scope baselines. Project managers will continue to monitor and verify these throughout the life of a project.

Starting a Work Breakdown Structure

Before starting a project, one of the most valuable tools is a detailed breakdown of the tasks involved, namely their duration and the resources required. This helps everyone get on the same page and provides a clear idea of what needs to be done.

As a project manager, it's your job to gather all critical input and deliverables. You may use these tools to chart the tasks into a hierarchy of importance order− Gantt charts, flow charts, spreadsheets, or lists.

First, outline the tasks in order of order, then assign each task to a project team member. If you're doing a large project with many team members, ensure that no one person carries most of the weight.


WBS levels identify the breakdown of work required to complete a project. Every level mirrors the complexity of the previous level and is outlined in an increasingly detailed manner.

PMI's definition of a WBS structure tells us that we must build it so that all the work needed to complete its parent task is included in the next level. Every component of any parenting task will have at least two sub−tasks under it.

Examples of WBS

You'll find that your project will have a different work breakdown structure.

As a project manager, the process of managing projects can be complicated. If you find a useful work breakdown structure (WBS), it may need to work better with your team. You'll have to experiment to see what works best for you and your team. The main goal is to make everyone involved with your company understand exactly what's going on at all times, whether they're a team member or an external stakeholder, and show the hierarchy of the project.

The WBS is a good tool for breaking your project into manageable sections. Some examples to help you understand −

  • WBS Spreadsheet − To help you stay organized, a WBS spreadsheet can be used. In the spreadsheet, use columns to detail phases, tasks, or deliverables with rows for each of these categories when applicable.

  • WBS Flowchart − The WBS is a sequential list of work activities that have to be done to accomplish the project. It can be illustrated in a diagrammatic workflow. The majority of WBS templates are flowcharts.

  • WBS List − Use the WBS list as a simple list of tasks, deliverables, and subtasks. This is the most straightforward way to make a WBS.

  • Gantt Chart − Gantt charts are a great way to represent work breakdown structures. With this chart, you can not only show a timeline but task dependencies as well. You can easily see how long a project will take and when certain milestones will be reached.

Difference Between WBS and Work Breakdown Schedule

A WBS is not a work breakdown schedule (WBS). A WBS, or work breakdown structure, is a product−oriented extension of the scope management process. It identifies the major deliverables and components of the project to implement and complete the work in a way that meets the needs of stakeholders.

If you want to be sure your project runs smoothly, you need the right documents. There's a risk management plan, a quality plan, a procurement plan, a communication plan, and more.

A work breakdown schedule is a clear and detailed plan that assigns estimated date ranges to all tasks and activities. With this, you can see the overall timeline of your project better.


By following the steps to create a good work breakdown structure, you can assign each task as appropriate, and set due dates before the final deadline.