Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) In Project Management

Last updated on September 29, 2020 by

Given the deadlines, budget, and resources, it’s important to have proper planning that leads you to the success of a project. That’s what work breakdown structure does in project management. It is a technique to breakdown a complex task into simplified and manageable sections. Primarily, the purpose of WBS is to identify specific tasks in a project. Through this, the project manager and the team to keep on time, on budget, and take deliverables. Being that said, here we will tackle several forms of WBS and how to draw a better WBS diagram.

Work Breakdown Structure Tutorial

Different Forms of Work Breakdown Structure

There are different types of WBS project management that you can use. Generally, the most common forms of WBS include Deliverable Oriented structures and Phase Oriented structures. Also, these are popular across all industries like systems engineering and project management. So to understand the types of WBS and their use, below are the description of each structure.

Deliverable-based structure

This is a type of WBS that defines components that make the deliverable be it physical or functional. You may encounter some other names like Product Oriented WBS and Noun Oriented. In case you’ve come across these names, they don’t make any difference with Deliverable oriented work breakdown structure.

Phase-based structure

On the other hand, we have a Phase-oriented structure that identifies the actions to be carried out in order to produce the unique deliverable. This is also known as Activity oriented, Verb oriented, or Process Oriented WBS.

Steps to Create WBS Diagram

Now you have gained basic knowledge about WBS, here you will learn to create a WBS diagram that you can employ to the given project. You may come across different tools online and perhaps you’re looking for an easy-to-use chart-marking tool. GitMind is by far the best online yet free diagramming tool. With it, teams can remotely construct a work breakdown structure using just a browser. Also, this innovative tool for project planning in different fields with lots of templates to choose from. Below is a step-by-step procedure to help you draw a WBS diagram.

  • Visit the official page of GitMind and click “Get Started”. You can also install it as an extension to instantly access the tool.
  • Next, select a template with a hierarchical structure and click “Use Templates”. Change the name of the root node to your main project and the first level to the deliverable of the project. To do so, double click on the branch to edit and change the description.
wbs project management
  • For a complete WBS project management, edit the nodes under each deliverable. When you’re done, click the “Export” button and choose a file format to finally save the file.
work breakdown structure example

Work Breakdown Structure Templates

If you’re new to WBS, GitMind provides work breakdown structure templates that will help users to construct and graphically create a WBS diagram quickly. The following templates of WBS are can be redesigned and use again for free.

Phase-Oriented Structure

work breakdown structure template
Edit this example

The first example is a phase-oriented structure that shows the decomposition of activities in a project. In a typical project management process, you will need to initiate the project, planning, launch project, run monitoring, and closure. Each level 1 element comes with actions. These activities should be done to proceed with the next phase.

Deliverable-Oriented Structure

work breakdown structure example
Edit this example

This work breakdown structure example shows the breakdown of the components of a website’s homepage. Level 1 consists of 5 elements including product, support, about us, blog, and members. These are unique deliverables and to produce them, you need to accomplish level 2 deliverables.

Conclusion

WBS is a simple yet helpful technique to make a complex project more manageable and approachable. Thus, the examples above in addition to the step-by-step process in the content are going to assist you in creating a work breakdown structure for your project.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on September 29, 2020

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