Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

Work breakdown structure (WBS):  The deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the total scope work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

WBS purpose: Organizes and defines activities (the total scope of the project.)

WBS Component: An entry in the work breakdown structure that can be at any level

WBS dictionary: The artifact that provides detailed deliverable, activity and scheduling information about each component in the WBS to support the WBS.

Examples of what could be in the WBS Dictionary:

  • A code of account identifier
  • Description of work
  • Assumptions & constraints
  • Responsible organization
  • Milestones
  • Resources
  • Cost Estimates
  • Quality requirements
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Technical references
  • Agreement information

Work Package: The work defined at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure for which cost and duration can be estimated and managed

Project Management Sample High Level Work Breakdown Structure

Steps before beginning the WBS:

  1. Obtain charter approval
  2. Define the project requirements
  3. Form the core team
  4. Ask the team to list all work packages under their responsibilities so they can be combined to make the WBS.

-Source: PMBOK


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