Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management (PMP 2020)

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

After reading this article, I am sure that you will be able to understand easily about Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management and its types, WBS dictionary, inputs, tools & techniques and Outputs of create Work Breakdown Structure process based on  PMBOK Guide sixth edition.



    What is Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management?

    Work Breakdown Structure in project management is the fourth process of Project Scope Management knowledge area and part of planning process group, which is used to divide project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components. 

    Process Group
    Knowledge Area
    Planning
    Project Scope Management

     

    Now let’s move for detail description of work breakdown structure in project management.

    Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management (PMP 2020)



    Work Breakdown structure in project management is one of the visual tool s which defines and tracks all components required to create a project deliverable. Work breakdown structure decomposes total scope of work into smaller, more manageable pieces.
    What is Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management

    This hierarchical decomposition should be done by project team in order to generate required project deliverables. Work breakdown structure may able to define total scope of the project. 

    Six processes of Project Scope Management

    1. Plan Scope Management (Planning)
    2. Collect Requirements (Planning)
    3. Define Scope (Planning)
    4. Create WBS (Planning)
    5. Validate Scope (Monitoring and Controlling)
    6. Control Scope (Monitoring and Controlling)

    There are two major types of Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management. 
    a.    Deliverable oriented
    Deliverable oriented WBS is also known as product oriented WBS which is used to decompose the total scope of the project into smaller, more manageable deliverables.
    b.    Phase oriented 
          Phase oriented WBS is also known as process oriented or task oriented WBS which is used to define deliverables in terms of tasks which must be accompolished to generate deliverable.

    What are the advantages of using Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management?

    The main advantages of using work breakdown structure in project management as it helps project manager & team in various ways can be listed out as below:
    • Provides framework of what is to be delivered
    • To estimate, coordinate, manage and monitor the project
    • To track the progress status of the project
    • Identify any risk associated with the task
    • Provides easy interface to assign responsibilities to the team
    • To develop project schedule
    • To develop project cost etc.  

    What are the various levels of Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management?

    Work Breakdown Structure generally consists of 3 levels of decomposition. But for lager complex projects, it may contain 4th level or even 5th level as well as per requirement.
    First work breakdown structure Level - project title
    Second work breakdown structure Level - Control Accounts
    Third work breakdown structure Level - Work Packages
    Last (or fourth in this case) work breakdown structure Level - activities

    Inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs of process Work Breakdown structure in project management 

    What is Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management

    What are the inputs of Create Work Breakdown structure in project management?

    Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management: Inputs 

         1.     Project management plan

    Project management plan include:
    • Scope management plan
    Scope management plan provides idea to create work breakdown structure from detailed project scope statement. As we discussed previously, Project scope statement is output of define scope process and helps to define, develop, monitor , validate and control the scope of the project

         2.     Project documents

    Project documents includes:
    • Project Scope Statement
    The project scope statement includes the details of the work which needs to e performed and which needs to be excluded.
    • Requirements documentation
    Requirements documentation is used to describe how individual requirements meet the business need for the project.

         3.   Enterprise environmental factors

    The enterprise environmental factors that can influence the Create Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management process include Industry specific work breakdown structure (WBS) standards.

     4.   Organizational process assets

    The organizational process assets that can influence Create Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management process includes:
    • Policies, procedures and templates
    • Lessons learned from previous project
    • Project files from previous project

    What are the tools and techniques used for Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management process?

    Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management: Tools & Techniques

    1. Expert judgment

    Expert judgement is always an essential tools and techniques of create work breakdown structure process. It describes how subject matter experts and stakeholders can be utilized to assist project manager and considered expertise from individuals or groups who are holding experience with similar kind of project.

    2. Decomposition

    Decomposition technique is one of the unique and major tools and techniques of work breakdown structure process which is used to divide and subdivide the total scope of the project into smaller, more manageable pieces.

    The decomposition level varies with the size and complexity of the project. As defined previously, for large & complex project, decomposition level can be four or even five also. Work package is always lowest level of the work breakdown structure.
    Following activities needs to be carried out in order to decompose total scope of the project:
    • Identify and analyze the deliverables and related work
    • Organize and structure the work breakdown structure
    • Decompose the upper WBS levels into lower-level detailed components
    • Develop and assign identification codes to the WBS components
    • Verify whether the degree of decomposition of the deliverables is appropriate


    What are the outputs of Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management process?

    Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management: Outputs

    1. Scope Baseline

    The scope baseline is one of the major components of project management plan and essential output of create work breakdown structure process which includes detailed scope statement, WBS itself and WBS dictionary. Scope baseline is generally used as basis for comparison which can be changed only through formal change control procedures.
    Few major components of the scope baseline include:
    • Project scope statement
    This document contains the detailed description of the project scope, major deliverables, assumptions, and constraints.
    • Work Breakdown Structure
    Described in detail on the top of this article.
    • Work package
    Work package comes with unique identifier and is the lowest level of work breakdown structure. Each & every work package falls under control account which is management control point where scope, budget, and schedule are integrated and compared to the earned value for performance measurement.
    • Planning package
    A planning package is a major component of work breakdown structure below the control account and above the work package with known work content but without detailed schedule activities.
    • WBS dictionary
    Work breakdown structure dictionary supports the work breakdown structure and provides information about each component in the WBS such as scope, activities, milestones, deliverable, cost, quality, resources and project schedule. It means, WBS dictionary provides supporting data about overall project tasks in the work breakdown structure (WBS).

    What are the major information included in Work Breakdown Structure dictionary?


    Information in the WBS dictionary may include code of account identifier, description of work, assumptions and constraints, responsible organization, schedule milestones, associated schedule activities, resources required, Cost estimates, Quality requirements, acceptance criteria, technical references and agreement information.

    2. Project Documents Updates

    Project documents that may be updated as a result of carrying out this process include:
    • Assumption log
    During create work breakdown structure process, additional assumptions & constraints were identified which can be updated in assumption log.
    • Requirements documentation
    Requirements documentation may be updated to include approved changes resulting from the Create WBS process.

    Conclusion

    I hope, after reading this article, you got your concept clear about creation and use of Work Breakdown Structure in project management.

    Main outcome of Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management process is Scope Baseline which is crucial for every project. This chapter is most important for PMP examination perspectives.

    Next article will be based on fifth process of Project Scope Management i. e “Validate Scope” which is Monitoring & Controlling process.

    Share your views/questions about this article in the comment box below which would be highly appreciated and of course, you can also contact me on my email id: [email protected]
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    Thank you for taking time reading this article.


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