In Project Management, Investigating Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical subdivision of the project team’s work that is part of Project Scope Management. But what exactly is a work breakdown structure, and what happens if you don’t give it the attention it deserves?

It is highly inefficient for a project manager to prepare a list of activities to be performed for the project immediately after receiving the approved project charter. A list does not allow you to divide the project into manageable chunks. This complicates matters for you and your team members. In this article, we will look at the benefits of a work breakdown structure.

What Is a Work Breakdown Structure?

The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a project management tool that divides a project into smaller, more manageable chunks. The deliverables and output are broken down into small chunks known as “work packages.”

A work package should be designed in such a way that you can do the following:

Calculate the cost of the newly created work package.

Plan the work package

The work package should be monitored and controlled.

When Should You Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

Ideally, a project manager should create the WBS during the planning stage after gathering all of the project’s requirements, including stakeholder requirements.

Who Should Be Involved in Creating the Work Breakdown Structure?

According to the PMI®, the WBS should ideally include:

Team Project Management Manager

The project team

Every identified stakeholder

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is an important part of a project and Project Management glossary. Discover more about the role and its significance.

Is ITTO required in the work breakdown structure?

ITTO is an acronym that stands for Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs. For creating the standard WBS, we generally require input such as the project scope statement, requirement documentation, and Organizational Process Assets (OPA) information. The finalized WBS, WBS dictionary, and scope baselines are the outputs. The assigned project manager then monitors, verifies, and controls the scope baselines throughout the project’s lifecycle. Decomposition is the tool used to create WBS.

What Is the Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary?

The work/activities defined for each work package in the WBS are defined in a WBS dictionary. This is useful if new members join your project in the middle of the process; they can use this dictionary to help them understand their role.

When Is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Appropriate?

When a new team member joins your project and the client or stakeholders request a scope change.

One of the work breakdown structure advantages is that it is a necessary tool in modern project management; the PMI particularly recommends it. The interesting thing about WBS is that it can be reused for multiple projects if the nature of future projects requires the same type of output. If the nature of the projects differs from the current one, it can still be used with some minor changes.


WBS should not be confused with a network diagram. The latter describes the sequence of activities, whereas the former only describes what work needs to be done in each work package without sequencing the activities. If you want to advance your project management career, this is the place to be. With SPOTO Learning’s world-class online Project Management training courses, you can add the PMP certification to your resume.

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