Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Work breakdown structure (WBS):

By: Jabina Shrestha                                                      

Work breakdown structure (WBS):
It is a fundamental tool used in project management and system engineering. It is like tree structure (look similar to organizational chart but they are alike) which consists of summing of subordinates. The main idea of WBS is used to define and organize the total scope of the project. The concept of WBS developed with the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) in the United States Department of Defense (DoD).
The purposes of the WBS are;
-          it helps more accurately and specifically define and organize the scope of the total project
-          it helps  in assigning responsibilities, resource allocation, monitoring the project and controlling the project
-          it allows to check all the deliverables specific with the stakeholders and allow to be sure of no missing and overlapping

One of the most important WBS design principles is 100% Rule. The Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures (Second Edition), published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) define the 100% rules as follows;
“The 100% Rule  ... states that the WNS includes 100% of the work defined by the project scope and capture all deliverables- internal, external, interim-interim of the work to be completed, including project management. The 100% rule is one of the most important principles guiding the development, decomposition and evaluation of the WBS. The rule applies at all levels within the hierarchy; the sum of the work at the “child” level must equal 100% of the work represent by the “ parent” and the WBS should not include any work that falls outside the actual scope of the project, that is, it cannot include  more than 100% of work.. It is important to remember that the 100% rue also applies to the activity level. The work represented by the activities in each work package must add up to 100% of the work necessary to complete the work package.”
Likewise there are others design principles to create WBS, those are;
-          Planned outcomes, not planned actions
-          Mutually exclusives elements
-          Level of detail
-          Decomposition Considerations
-          WBS coding scheme
-          Terminal element

There are some pitfalls while creating a WBS; those are
-          Level of Work Package Detail; must decide how specific and details are needed, must be careful not to get too detailed
-          Deliverables not Activities or Tasks: should contain list of broken deliverables  not a list of specific tasks used to get the deliverables
-          WBS is not a Plan or Schedule: cannot be used as plan or schedule
-          WBS Updates Require Change Control: changes in WBS change the deliverables and thus the scope of the project
-          WBS is not an Organizational Hierarchy:

List of Tools for WBS:
-          WBS Chart PRO
-          Match Ware

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