If you work in the field of project management, you have likely heard of work breakdown structure. Work breakdown structures are essential to the communication of deliverables in a particular project. In order to keep project team members, external stakeholders, and fellow project managers on the same page, work breakdown structures and simplify the overall process of arriving at the final deliverable.
Essentially, work breakdown structures help to divide project tasks into smaller, bite-size pieces. This allows everyone on the team to better understand what is expected of them in order to satisfy the client. Not only that, but project managers will be able to complete better estimates when it comes to budgeting and timeline things are simplified from the start. In this blog, we will explore the process of creating a seamless work breakdown structure, so that you can start your next project off on the right foot.
Ten Steps to Success
- Step number one: First and foremost, you will want to create a work breakdown structure by collaborating with your team and external stakeholders. Since the project team has already been notified about the overall project scope, they can contribute to the completion of the work breakdown structure. Ask your project team members to help by providing a breakdown of their individual responsibilities.
- Step number two: Keep in mind that every level of your work breakdown structure should be more simplified than the task proceeding. In the second level, this means that all major objectives should be outlined. In the following level, work packages related to these activities will be detailed.
- Step number three: Remember, some levels require further breakdowns than others. For example, some work packages may need to be broken down to the second level, while others will be broken down to the eighth. It’s all about customizing your work breakdown structure to fit your team
- Step number 4: Since your work breakdown structure is supposed to outline a high-level overview of the entire project, be sure to keep each staff as basic as possible. Deliverables that are not necessary should not be included in the work breakdown structure.
- Step number five: All work packages must meet the following qualifications:
- Desired outcomes can be attainable he reached. One of the main objectives of creating a work breakdown structure is having the ability to more accurately estimate and outline your project. Be sure to break each step of the process down so that this can be achieved.
- Keep in mind that in order for the work breakdown structure to be successful, activities must be small enough to be completed within the desired schedule. For bigger assignments, work packages may be more fitting.
- All final products should be able to be completed within the allotted schedule. If tasks are estimated to take longer, break them down even further.
- You will know that a task has been broken down to a small is that enough size when it can be completed without interruption.
- Some deliverables previously estimated for might be outsourced during the project. Typically, companies do not like to hire freelancers for entire projects but instead delegate smaller tasks in order to stay on track.
- Step number six: Once you have completed your work breakdown structure, it is time to enter the finalized version into project management software. There are lots of different tools and systems out there, it’s all about finding what works best for you! Using project management software can help you delegate tasks, meet deadlines, and prepare for change requests. One of the most common tools is Microsoft Project. If you are unfamiliar with the system, you can explore guides and courses online to help.
- Step number seven: Work packages must be broken down further when included in your work breakdown structure. Since work packages typically include several steps, it is best to break these down as much as possible.
- Step number eight: Once you have completed your work breakdown structure, ELS sign levels to signify location. See the chart above as an example. You can see that the project is divided into two deliverables and each is labeled. Work packages that fall underneath each deliverable for ease of completion.
- Step number nine: Remember, work breakdown structures can be used to help the completion of multiple projects. If your organization is working on multiple projects within the same industry, using the same work breakdown structure can save you a lot of time. For example, if you work for an app development company and you are working on an iOS release, you can use the same work breakdown structure for your Android release, too.
- Step number 10: Every time you begin a new project, you should collect work breakdown structure examples and store them in your project management office. This way you are able to create a collection of work breakdown structures for a variety of projects. This is a great way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization over time.
Understanding the information in this article is an essential part of project management and a vital part of the PMP exam. Improve your project management skills or prepare for the PMP Certification exam by taking a quality online PMP exam prep course.