Discover how to build a work breakdown structure.
- [Voiceover] The best way to build a WBS is to start at the top and work your way down. By top, I mean the top level of summary tasks. For larger projects you might work as a team to identify the top few levels of summary tasks. Then the team can split into smaller groups to break down the summary tasks in smaller chunks. At the end everyone gets back together to review the results and correct any issues. Start by using the scope statement and deliverables to identify the top level summary tasks.
For example, since the conference center scope includes updating conference center equipment and remodeling conference center rooms, you add summary tasks to cover those. Next, break down each of the summary tasks into smaller pieces. This is where intermediate deliverables come in handy for identifying lower level summary tasks and work packages. For example, the conference center project includes deliverables for signed contracts.
Let's add tasks to obtain proposals, select vendors, negotiate and sign the contracts. You might be wondering how much breakdown is enough. The rule of thumb most project managers use is to shoot for work packages that take between eight and 80 hours to complete. Consider breaking down project work to match the frequency of your status reports, that way, you have measurable progress and completed tasks for every status report.
You can use the following tests to determine whether you've broken work down to the right level. Time and cost are easy to estimate. Status is easy to measure. Task durations are shorter than your reporting periods. The detail is at the level that you can and want to manage. Different parts of a project might require different levels of decomposition. One part of the project might include more work so you break it down to three levels.
If another part of the project is simpler, you might need only two levels. Don't worry about the initial organization of your WBS, you can rearrange it later as you learn more about the project. Building a WBS from the top down works well because you can use the scope statement and deliverables and intermediate deliverables to get going. To practice, try building a WBS for one of your own projects.
Bonnie Biafore has always been fascinated by how things work and how to make things work better. In this course, she explains the fundamentals of project management, from defining the problem, establishing project goals and objectives, and building a project plan to managing team resources, meeting deadlines, and closing the project. Along the way, she provides tips for reporting on project performance, keeping a project on track, and gaining customer acceptance.
- Defining the components of a project
- What it takes to be a project manager
- Using project management software like Microsoft Project
- Managing project scope, budget, and schedule
- Managing project resources, including people
- Managing project risk
- Initiating a project
- Identifying and managing stakeholders
- Identifying requirements and deliverables
- Developing a project plan
- Building a project schedule
- Assigning resources to tasks
- Understanding the critical path
- Running the project
- Managing teams
- Monitoring performance
- Closing a project
Skill Level Beginner
1. Getting to Know Project Management
2. Exploring Project Management Knowledge Areas
3. First Things First
How to develop requirements4m 19s
4. Developing a Project Plan
5. Building a Project Schedule
6. While You Run the Project
7. Working with Teams
8. Monitoring and Controlling Progress and Performance
9. Closing a Project
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