WBS Creation - 10 Golden Rules to creating the Work Breakdown Structure

WBS Creation - 10 Golden Rules to creating the Work Breakdown Structure

In this lesson, we will see the 10 most important rules - or tips and pitfalls to creating the WBS. There is only one way to become good at creating WBS - and that is to practice and practice. This lesson will teach you some very important guidelines on how to create a great WBS. 

Rule 1. create wbs with your team - not alone - as you want their complete involvement and understanding Involve your team in the planning stage of the project. Build the WBS interactively by first defining what deliverables need to be created. You will have a more complete WBS and a team that understands what they need to do. 

Rule 2. wbs should have at least 3 levels - highest level is the project itself For medium to large projects you might have several levels more - depending upon both the complexity and the size of the components. 

Rule 3. Don't confuse WBS to a task WBS is a work component that will be decomposed into tasks. This is also a pitfall that awaits many project managers. For example the "Registration Page" is a WBS item - but not "Write bad password lockout logic". The latter is a task and you should not look at tasks while creating WBS. 

Rule 4. Naming Convention: Name a WBS item as a noun (and not a verb) This makes it very easy to identify WBS items and tasks on the project schedule in the future. Again taking the same example - "Registration Page" is a noun - but "Write bad password lockout logic" uses a verb at the beginning. 

Rule 5. The WBS lists your work breakdown, the task list is the breakdown of the WBS into actions This is almost a repeat - but is a very frequent pitfall - to elaborate on this, tasks belong to the Project Schedule - don't do task breakdown while doing the WBS. Schedule comes AFTER the wbs.

 Rule 6. The 100% Rule: Each lower level of decomposition must represent all of the work of the higher-level element; conversely, all higher-level scope must be reflected in one of the lower-level elements. This is called the 100% rule, which ensures that all of the scope has been captured and that nothing unnecessary is included. 

Rule 7. WBS is almost never complete or right in the first iteration. The more you learn about your project - the more you will alter your WBS. This is absolutely great - and you should be prepared for this. 

Rule 8. Tasks have to be small enough to be assigned to individual resources - NOT the WBS Please read this carefully. You should decompose WBS items only enough that they make logical sense as a component and not more than that. 

Rule 9. The lowest level of the WBS—the work package — will be represented by a summary task on your Project plan. This is a great tip especially if you are going to use a tool such as Microsoft Project to create your Project Schedule in the next step. Each of your WBS work packages should become a summary task. Summary tasks are collections of logically grouped tasks. 

Rule 10. The 8/80 Rule: This is the single most asked question everywhere about WBS decomposition: "When should I stop?" The answer to this given in a thumb rule: the 8/80 rule says that "All work packages should be greater than 8 hours and lesser than 80 hours". This should give you a fair indication of when you can stop working on the WBS. 

So, in this lesson, we have seen 10 rules or tips and pitfalls of how to create the WBS - and also on when to stop. The next step after WBS is to create the project schedule. Please ask your questions in the comments section - share your own WBS with the rest of the learners on this course. It is very helpful if you share and also see the WBS that others are creating to improve your skills on the WBS.
See Also: Top Tips for Developing a Work Breakdown Structure 

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