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.

(WBS) Work Breakdown Structure Template Excel

These sub-divided tasks are specified by work packages. A work package can be defined as 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 a 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 the project manager and get 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 tasks and stay away from redundant activities.

WBS Excel Template Core Elements

There are 6 key elements of the WBS Template that are following:

Dictionary: It is a document that defines work breakdown structure various factors, rules, policy, and elements in it. It helps team members, partners, stakeholders, and other entities to understand the WBS elements better.

WBS Levels: A WBS excel template has various levels in a specific hierarchy. Each project has its own types and numbers of levels according to its lengthiness. Although, the basic levels are project objectives and deliverables, control account, and work packages.

Control Accounts: It refers to managing the project scope, cost, and schedule and their evaluation on the scale of EVM to determine actual project performance. We use these accounts at a specific location in WBS where we need them or we want to control the activity on work packages.

Project Deliverables: It refers to obtaining desire outcomes from tasks & work packages. As we know that, in WBS we break down the whole project scope into small elements that are meant to be completed in time, in order to complete and obtain the project objective and according to the project scope.

Work Packages: According to PMBOK a work package is the lower class element in WBS element levels.

Because these are work packages consist of small numbers of tasks, so, we assign these tasks to different teams or project departments.

Tasks in WBS: A task is the smallest form of project scope and work packages. In WBS we easily detailed them according to their type and nature of work. This detailing includes its, liabilities, limitations, due dates, cost, etc.

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.

(WBS) Work Breakdown Structure Template Excel

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;

Fifth Step Closeout includes;

  • Audit Procurement
  • Document Lessons Learned
  • Update Files/ Records
  • Gain Formal Acceptance
  • Archive Files/ Documents

However, project managers may use the project management dashboard template for project planning, monitoring, and control purposes to track employee performance and progress on their daily scheduled tasks.

Below are the simple guidelines to follow for the construction of WBS:

  • The project team must have a deep understanding of the project scope, statement, and management plan.
  • Major deliverable needs to be determined.
  • 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;

  • Hierarchy
  • The 100% rule
  • The 8/80 rule
  • Three levels
  • Mutually exclusive
  • Outcome focused, not actions

How to Make Work Breakdown Structure in Excel Template

work breakdown structure template excel

Here are the guidelines for the project managers to make WBS for their project, use the following steps;

Collecting Critical Documents: In this step first to collect project critical documents that include Project Management Plan (PMP), work schedule, project timeline, task details, cost, and budget, project charter & scope, etc.

Key Team Members: This is another important step because in which we identify and select working staff that includes, project manager, team leader, and other team members. After setting teams now you can assign them tasks.

Level Elements: This step includes the whole project deliverables summary or objectives and goals details. We can also describe here the project scope that must be in focus during setting deliverables.

Breakdown Elements: In this step, we split the Level 1 elements into further sub-levels that are basically deliverables. Project managers use this decomposition technique to break down big objectives or goals into small work. We use these techniques until all elements in the project plan are managed.

Creating A WBS Dictionary: A WBS dictionary is a narrative-building statement for elements that are in the list. As we named their work packages. This work package information includes limitations, task details, milestones, risk factors, project sponsor, program manager, budget, etc.

Task Scheduling: After decomposition of the project plan now have work packages that refer to the work plan or project activity log. To make a schedule it is highly recommended to use the Gantt Chart template or project schedule plan template.

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