Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

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"A work breakdown structure (WBS) is discussed first. It provides a hierarchical structure that outlines the activities or work that needs to be done in order to complete the project scope. The WBS also provides a bridge or link between the project’s scope and the detailed project plan that will be entered into a project management software package."

"Once the project’s scope is defined, the next step is to define the activities or tasks the project team must undertake to fulfill the scope deliverable requirements. The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a useful tool for developing the project plan and links the project’s scope to the schedule and budget. According to Gregory T. Haugan (2002),

The WBS represents a logical decomposition of the work to be performed and focuses on how the product, service, or result is naturally subdivided. It is an outline of what work is to be performed (17).

Work Packages

"The WBS decomposes, or subdivides, the project into smaller components and more manageable units of work called work packages. Work packages provide a logical basis for defining the project activities and assigning resources to those activities so that all the project work is identified (Haugan 2002). A work package makes it possible to develop a project plan, schedule, and budget and then later monitor the project’s progress.

As illustrated in Figure 6.1, a work package may be viewed as a hierarchy that starts with the project itself. The project is then decomposed into phases, with each phase having one or more deliverables as defined in the deliverable definition table and deliverable structure chart. More specifically, each phase should provide at least one specific deliverable—that is, a tangible and verifiable piece of work. Subsequently, activities or tasks are identified in order to produce the project’s deliverables.
The WBS provides a framework for developing a tactical plan to structure the project work. PMBOK® views the WBS as a hierarchical decomposition of the project’s scope that the project team will deliver over the course of the project. The total scope of the project is divided and subdivided into specific deliverables that can be more easily managed. This includes both product and project-oriented deliverables. In short, the WBS provides an outline for all of the work the project team will perform."

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