How to set up a professional work breakdown structure for successful projects
Project management is a tool to facilitate the process of getting from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. It is about defining objectives, ideas, and plans to get there. Most projects employ some form of work breakdown structure for planning purposes, which is essentially what project managers use to breakdown assigned tasks and create milestones. Work breakdown structures were created for the purpose of clarifying, organizing, and defining work. The concepts and models of WBS are used to divide a project into smaller activities that are easier to understand, control, and monitor. Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work required to achieve an objective, such as a project, business case, or change management initiative. It can be thought of as a tree: projects are at the top, and sub-projects are further broken down into tasks, subtasks, and so on.
Here in this article, I am going to discuss with you the work breakdown structure. How can we set up a professional work breakdown structure in successful projects? How can requirement engineering pave the way to making a good work breakdown structure for any project? So, let’s get started.
The importance of a work breakdown structure in successful project management
The work breakdown structure is an essential part of every project management methodology. It helps you understand the scope and complexity of your project and can be used to track progress, estimate costs, and schedule work.
A WBS describes each element of work required to complete the project. From a high-level view, it shows what’s involved in achieving your overall objectives. From a detailed perspective, it shows how each activity contributes to overall success.
How to set up a professional work breakdown structure
A well-structured work breakdown structure can help you visualize the scope of work, identify dependencies between tasks, estimate resources needed to complete the project, track progress throughout the project lifecycle, provide visibility into cost variances, and highlight areas where more time or money may be required to complete. A work breakdown structure is often created for both large projects with multiple teams working on different aspects of the project and small projects with only one team working on one aspect of the project. While managing large projects, project managers often use requirement engineering to create a professional work breakdown structure. Requirement engineering explains the stakeholder’s needs and desires associated with the project. On the basis of requirement engineering, a better version of the work breakdown structure can be made.
Here are the main points to making a professional work breakdown structure for successful projects.
- Start with the end in mind. What is the purpose of your project? What do you want to achieve? How will it benefit those involved?
- Determine the project’s stakeholders’ needs and desires and document them using requirement engineering.
- Identify all project-related elements, both internal and external, that must be addressed in order to meet the objectives. These elements are called “deliverables.” Your deliverables can be tangible or intangible items such as equipment needed, required training, etc.
- Assign a number or letter to each deliverable based on its importance so that they can be tracked as they progress through the process.
- Divide each deliverable into smaller parts until no more detail is required for planning purposes, usually three levels deep.
- Create a work breakdown structure diagram by creating a table with columns representing each deliverable category. Then assign numbers or letters to each item in this category according to its importance so that it’s easier to track its progress through the process.
Creating a work breakdown structure can be the difference between failure and success on your next project. By spending a little bit of time creating this document, you can avoid many of the problems that other projects encounter. A work breakdown structure can be very useful, especially for high-level overviews of larger projects. With this in mind, it’s not a perfect tool for every project. Creating one does require more work initially than other methods, but the benefits are worth it. If your project requires a high-level breakdown and you’re happy to spend a bit of time on setup, then a WBS is worth it.