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Home Resource What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) In Project Management?

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) In Project Management?

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Introduction

Project management can be a challenging domain. Complex projects with numerous tasks and deadlines can put project teams in awe and overwhelm them. A work breakdown structure helps to break these tasks into smaller sub-tasks and simplify matters. A WBS is defined as a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of work to be done by the project team.

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Why Use WBS in Project Management

The key benefits of using a work breakdown structure are as follows:

Provides a Micro Picture

Projects can be overwhelming, especially large and complex ones. It can be challenging for the best of project managers to take on projects without breaking it down. A work breakdown structure comes to the rescue of project teams in such situations. It provides a macro-level picture of the project. It also provides an understanding of the project team about which pieces fit where in a project. Breaking complex tasks into smaller and more manageable activities makes it easier to comprehend. It also provides clarity to the project team on how and when the specific tasks need to be completed.

Project team members can visualize how their specific tasks contribute to the overall project. This gives them a better understanding of the project and the motivation to complete their tasks on time.

A Planning and Monitoring Tool

Planning and Monitoring

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A work breakdown structure is a unique project management tool. It acts as planning as well as a monitoring resource. It provides a micro picture of the entire project. The project teams know about the work to be done during specific timelines. A WBS fixes responsibilities and deadlines for each activity in the project. It gives the project team more focus to This makes it an ideal planning guide to communicate micro plans and deliverables to the project team.

Once the WBS is made, it also acts as a plan to monitor the project delivery. The project manager has a blueprint against which he/she can monitor the project progress, challenges, resource utilization, etc. It allows the project manager to ensure that the project is on track in terms of budget and timelines.

Prevents Unwanted Changes

Project managers are wary of changes in the project scope. It can mean revising the project activities and can change the budget and expected timelines. In most cases, changes need to be done due to poorly defined project scope. WBS in project management helps to break down the tasks to a granular level. Hence, a work breakdown structure helps in clarifying the project scope and making it more robust. This reduces the number of unwanted changes that would otherwise be required during the project execution.

Helps in Resource Allocation

Preparing a resource allocation plan can be challenging. It is never easy to make a reliable estimate of resources like personnel, time, money, etc. in project execution. Over or underestimating resource allocations can jeopardize a project. A work breakdown structure allows you to divide complex works into micro-level tasks. This gives a clear idea of the specific activities to be executed at different times. WBS in project management makes it easier to estimate resource requirements and making a resource allocation plan. This will ensure that the project there is no lack of resources or any overspending due to excess resource allocation.

Also Read: How to Deal with Micromanagement in the Workplace

Fosters Communication and Cooperation

A WBS helps in improving cooperation and communication among the project team members. It shows the project progress, pending tasks, resource allocation, etc. to the project team. These details are easily communicated to the project team with a work breakdown structure. The team members can coordinate with each other for the timely completion of tasks by referring to WBS in project management.

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