Work Breakdown Structure

04 May, 2011

There are usually a number of questions on the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam relating to a Work Breakdown Structure. This article will explain what a work breakdown structure is and why a project manager would use one.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure?
In project management a key tool to ensure project scope is fully defined, is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A Work Breakdown Structure:
• Organises, defines and displays the total scope of the project
• Progresses downward from general to specific
• Sub-divides the project work into smaller, more manageable pieces of work
• Converts projects objectives into specific deliverables
• Does not show dependencies

Why use a Work Breakdown Structure?

• Graphical; easy readable form of all project work
o Clearly defined project scope; identify gaps and duplication
o Important for responsibility delegation
o Input to risk management
o Input to communications, quality, HR, contract planning
• Easy to see work package relationship and connection to end product
• Provides structure for organizing
o Cost, Budget
o Work Package Management and tracking
o Input to schedule
• Ease of management of project

The WBS is a commonly asked question in the PMP® Exam. In order to achieve the PMP® certification a project manager must be familiar with a WBS and how to use it.




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