In this post, we will learn about Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) diagram/chart. WBS is a project management tool to show all project deliverables in a chart or diagram.
What is WBS?
WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure and it is a structure that demonstrates all the project deliverables in a hierarchy form. Such structure is normally presented in the form of an organogram chart/diagram where the superior boxes represent the high-level project deliverables while the lower level boxes represent the lower-level deliverables or more detailed work packages/tasks, etc.
A WBS is composed of all the deliverables that the project must produce. As a rule of thumb we understand that everything present in the WBS must be delivered by the project and what is not in the WBS will not be produced or delivered in the project.
WBS has varied forms like RBS, PBS, etc. RBS can be Risk Breakdown Structure, Resource Breakdown Structure, etc. PBS is Product Breakdown Structure.
There are two types of WBS. Broadly, they can be divided into two types:
- Deliverable-Based WBS
- Phase-Based WBS
The main difference between the two types is that how we identify the elements in the WBS.
A WBS starts with the root element that representing the project as a whole. Once the root element is defined, we can think about what major deliverables must be produced for the project to succeed and we create a box for each one of these major deliverables as a child of the root element.
Then, we define the minor deliverables that must be produced in order to produce each major deliverable and so on. The minor deliverables must be children of the major deliverables. The WBS is considered finished when we look at it and see that all the project deliverables are there and nothing is missing in the project.
There are several WBS tools that project managers can use to generate WBS charts.