The project work breakdown structure (WBS) is a key document in
the project. It forms the basis of much of the planning,
setting budgets, financial control, defining the
organisation and assigning responsibilities.
Breaking the project work into manageable units is key to
controlling the project. Viewing the project, as a whole
can be overwhelming, therefore, breaking the project
into small chucks makes it more appealing. It is also
possible to identify and delegate work to other members
of the project team.
Each level of the work breakdown structure (WBS) is often called a task. How many
levels you have will vary by project, generally the
bigger the project the more levels. Up to about 5 is
fine. If you have more than this, you should think
about initiating sub-projects to deal with legs of the
WBS Anything over 10 levels and the project scope is
probably flawed and needs rechecking.
the higher level (top) appears the phases of the project
(usually the phases in the project plan). Beneath this
are all the tasks that have to be performed to complete
The following is an example of a work breakdown
The WBS is for the publication of a series. The editor
has produced a project plan and the key phases are shown
on the WBS in grey. Below these phases are the tasks
that need to be done to complete each phase.
creating the units of work, it now becomes possible for
example, to delegate lower level tasks to individual
workers and the higher level tasks to their managers and
a very useful tool and can help the Project Manager
manage and control the project effectively.
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