What is WBS?
WBS is also said as a work breakdown structure. WBS is the foundation component in project management. The Activity WBS comes from the origin of the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) which used as a hierarchical decomposition of the subtask work executed in the project. The first step to plan is to break down the project into simpler elements to manage the task. WBS is the main action done in every project and it’s the foundation of the Project. This is used to find the project status and cost variance. Where this shows the project as a milestone and shows what’s the budgeted and actual. WBS should be planned before the execution of the project so the risk is highlighted in the activities and plans, this articles is the proven approach of the planning and creating of Work break down structure. It also helps to plan the total estimated time for the project. Role allocation and resource allocation is also done in every activity.
WBS includes all internal, external and in terms (in terms means works to be completed including the project management. Its main principle is for decomposition, development, and evaluation of the WBS. After completion of the project, the Work breakdown structure acts as an asset to the organization. WBS can be used in all project and compatible and makes work easier.
Steps created for the project using WBS
PHASE (Level 1)
Every project is categorized into phases or levels, this is used to find the activities in appropriate phases. This is first created in WBS.
WBS ENTRY (Level 2)
The entries which are done within the phases are called the WBS entry, where they are sub-categorized into sub-levels. After the creation of the phase, WBS entries are created.
ACTIVITY (Level 3)
Continuing with WBS entry then created the activities which are used to perform the task to complete the bigger one. The lowest level of WBS is called the activity. All the activities are assigned to an individual to complete the task.
WBS is a project management technique for organizing and defining the scope of the project, it uses the Tree structures format in a well prepared. WBS has planned output rather than actions. The outcome of the project or result can be predicted accurately.
The first 2 levels which are the root and the collective data of the project represents the 100% scope.
Once each activity is completed the tree shows the accurate data from the branches.
Why WBS is prepared?
WBS is used to guide the project and gives a clear view of the project structure.
WBS is been featuring a lot in project completion such as,
- Cost analysis or Budgeting
- Time management
- Critical points
- Resource allocation,
- Prioritize the task
- Risk analysis
- The hierarchy for the project
- To show in Milestone
- Plan the outcome of the project
The elements used to create WBS are,
- The scope of work.
- The starting and ending dates of the project.
- Resource allocation and Budget.
- Which Person will be responsible for the work.
- Set a time for labor according to task
- Identify project cost performance
Mostly WBS works with task dependencies. One’s successor activity depends upon the predecessor activity. So if one predecessor activity is not finished the supporting activities will be affected and shows in red color, where the critical points are shown in red color in the graph on the right side.
It also affects the project’s deadline date, even if one activity is pending.
Activities can also be allocated on the same day, where here the activities are done in parallel; WBS is a one-time creation for the project and should be updated on a daily basis.
The hierarchy shows the project in a structured way. This is shown in the sample below.
Guidelines for Work Breakdown Structure
The following guidelines are
- Work task should not exceed not more than 10 days.
- Independent task should be allocated
- sub-elements should be created under the main element
- The high level represents the status of the final project.
- Predecessor activities should be dependent on successor activity.
- Resource allocation
- Assigning task to people
- Manage Critical path method
- Time allocation
- Baseline creation
- Rule creation
- Assigning Calendar
WBS is mainly used in many management software, examples are shown below,
Primavera is an enterprise model created by Oracle and SAP ERP system most Commonly used as a project planning tool for any project. Even experienced project managers know that things can go wrong, unmanageable situations may arise, the budget may overrun, missed deadlines, and frequent change of scope. so they tend to use this software for the optimal flow of the project.
The salient features for primavera p6 are given below
- Define and set up EPS ( Enterprise project structure ).
- Add Projects to EPS Hierarchy.
- Define the WBS ( Work Breakdown Structure ).
- Create an OBS ( Organizational Breakdown structure ).
- Set Standard work hours per day
- Resources allocation of the project
- Add calendar to resources and activities.
- Add Activities to WBS.
- Input activities information.
- Schedule the project.
- Updating the progress of the project.
- Analyze and Preview project
- Activity sequencing.
- Export project schedule to excel sheets.
- Compare schedules with Claim
Sample view of Primavera P6 R3.2
This software is most commonly used by planning engineers and planning manager. This helps further for effective communication in the project, Shows visibility, keep an eye to track the project tasks and the completion percentage of the task in the detail sublevel.
The advance version R3.2 in primavera makes the project more feasible and arranged in an accurate manner which makes the project manager keep updated and analyze the cost inaccurate. Creating Gantt charts, this shows the progress in percentage in charts. The proper understanding of task and goals for smooth flow of the project.
This has been a guide to What is WBS. Here we have discussed the Steps created for the project using WBS and why it is prepared with the elements which are used to create it. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –