Work breakdown structure. Hierarchically order the tasks of a project.

What is a work breakdown structure? Which advantages does it offer and how do you create work breakdown structures?

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A work breakdown structure as a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team

What is a work breakdown structure?

With a work breakdown structure, the project can be ordered into tasks that have to be taken care of – so you structure the project. This structuring leads you until you can define detailed work packages to which you allocate editors and workloads. Through this the work breakdown structure can determine those responsible, the costs, deadlines and results for the tasks and you can create a foundation for the planning of your costs, deadlines, resources and processes. The plan also helps for your risk management, because you can recognize critical pathes with its creation. The work breakdown structure is also essential for the entire project planning. Based on the work breakdown structure, you can create Gantt charts.

The work breakdown structure is known from traditional project management, where you work according to the waterfall model. But even agile projects allow the implementation of the work breakdown structure, in that you dismantle the project, for example, into release and sprint activities. Often you can also find a hybrid work breakdown structure.

Read here to learn more about hybrid project management >>

An overview of the advantages of the WBS

  • Scope of performance of the project is completely displayed
  • Project goal is defined
  • Transparency is achieved for all project participants, for example, the stakeholders
  • The foundation for further planning is mapped
  • All tasks are determined with their benefactors
  • A foundation is created by which to calculate the the resource implementation and the project costs
  • Team work is easier because tasks can be precisely allocated and edited
  • Risks can be identified (for example, if a project branch is not completely defined)
  • Need for communication can be determined