The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a critical part of the project planning stage. While making a project plan, a complex project is divided into many small sections to deal separately to get a consolidated result in the form of successful ultimate goal achievement.
(WBS) Work Breakdown Structure
It is a hierarchical decomposition of project work that has to be executed to achieve the project objectives and get the required deliverables. It is used to graphically display well-organized information into multiple levels that a project needs to achieve.
In the WBS structure, the major deliverable of the project is identified and subdivided into sub-deliverables. These smaller sections are further subdivided into tasks that can be assigned to a certain person or group of persons.
These sub-divided tasks are specified by work packages. A work package can be defined as a work that is required to complete a specific task. These work packages are a list of tasks that combines to accomplish a lower level deliverable.
Why Work Breakdown Structure is Important?
The work breakdown structure is very useful in project management. It helps the project team in many dimensions. Here are few of the key benefits of work breakdown structure;
- It provides a visual and graphical representation of all major and minor sections of the project.
- It helps to estimate the cost of the project.
- It helps to monitor a going project to project manager and getting an overall view to see how the project is progressing.
- It breaks project work into small easily manageable chunks.
- It helps to understand the dependencies links between activities.
- It defines measurable outcomes.
- It helps to develop project timelines and schedules.
- It helps to write a statement or work estimate to present investors for getting funds.
- It helps to assign and ensure no overlaps in the definition of responsibilities and resources.
- It helps to include all important things without forgetting any critical task and stay away from redundant activities.
Format of WBS Template Excel
This format based on a tree chart structure that’s shows the descending order of work hierarchy. In the first column, you put some basic information like project name, project manager name who is handling this project, starting and ending dates.
After that, we put the project plan on the scale of the project life-cycle plan, as project initiation includes;
- Evaluation & Recommendations
- Develop Project Charter
- Deliverable: Submit Project Charter
- Project Sponsor Reviews Project Charter
- Project Sponsor Reviews Project Charter
- Project Charter Signed/Approved
The second step of the life cycle (planning) includes;
- Create Preliminary Scope Statement
- Determine Project Team
- Project Team Kickoff Meeting
- Develop Project Plan
- Submit a Project Plan
- Milestone: Project Plan Approved
The third step of project life cycle Execution includes;
- Project Kickoff Meeting
- Verify & Validate User Requirements
- Design System
- Procure Hardware/Software
- Install Development System
- Testing Phase
- Install Live System
- User Training
- Go Live
Fourth Step Controlling includes;
- Project Management Methodologies
- Project Status Meetings
- Risk Management
- Update Project Management Plan
Fifth Step Closeout includes;
- Audit Procurement
- Document Lessons Learned
- Update Files/ Records
- Gain Formal Acceptance
- Archive Files/ Documents
However, project managers may use project management dashboard template for project planning, monitoring and controlling purposes to track employee performance and progress on their daily scheduled tasks.
How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure Template Excel Format:
There are some ways to represent information that the work breakdown structure carries. Therefore, work breakdown structure can be made as following views;
- Outline View: It’s the most simplified and easy to understand the view of WBS. It looks like headings structure such as a table of contents given at the start of most of the books.
- Hierarchical Structure: It’s similar to the outline view but the major difference is of indentation. It looks more difficult to understand but prefers to be used when there are some levels of deliverables and the indenting method doesn’t suit apparently.
- Tabular View: It’s also a pretty simple and readable view. It shows each level of WBS in a separate column.
- Tree Structure View: It’s a graphical view that requires SmartArt tools of MS excel for creating an organization chart structure.
- WBS Dictionary: It is a detailed view of WBS which contains information on each work package for successful understanding.
Below are the simple guidelines to follow for the construction of WBS:
- The project team must have a deep understanding of project scope, statement, and management plan.
- Major deliverable needs to be determine.
- Identify work packages out of major deliverables.
- Create a WBS dictionary for understanding which view will be more suitable for representation.
- Use appropriate Work Breakdown Structure Template Excel view for the representation of Work tasks packages.
This specific breakdown of project deliverables is called WBS due to a certain set of rules it follows;
- The 100% rule
- The 8/80 rule
- Three levels
- Mutually exclusive
- Outcome focused, not actions