Applying Work Breakdown Structures for an accurate estimates

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Hanna Wolfe July 15, 2018
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Breinz WBS Hierarchy

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the most basic component of project planning.

A WBS is a formal and systematic way of defining the scope of a project. The WBS is a tool that is used to breakdown the project into smaller manageable parts to aid in making large complex projects easier to manage.

There is no standard WBS structure for projects; however, you can rely upon the project life cycle or the PBS to develop the WBS.

The underlying philosophy of WBS is to breakdown the project into work packages that are assignable and for which accountability can be expected. Watch the following video, '3.2 Work Breakdown Structures', to understand how a WBS fits into the broader scheme of project management and how they are used in projects.

How deep should a WBS go

The number of levels in your WBS depends on:

  • the level of detail in the technical tasks
  • the extent of risk events identified and treated
  • the level of project control required
  • the accuracy of the cost estimates
  • the work package value.

The consequences of a poor WBS include:

  • incomplete project definition
  • unclear work assignments, goals, objectives or deliverables
  • scope creep or unmanageable, frequently changing scope
  • budget overrun
  • missed deadlines on scheduled deliverables or timeline slippage
  • unusable new product or feature
  • failure to deliver on some elements of project scope.
Breinz WBS Hierarchy

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