Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

What is a Project? 

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service, or a known product or service in a unique environment. A set of inter-related and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve a unique objective conforming to specific requirements, including the restraints of time, cost and resources.

What is Project Management? 

Project Management is the planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling of all aspects of a project in a continuous process to achieve its objectives, both internal and external.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)? 

Successful project management depends in a large degree on the project manager’s ability to specify the work content of projects in terms of its products (deliverables) and activities. One of the principal tools for planning and controlling the work content is the WBS. 

The WBS is commonly used at the beginning of a project for defining project scope, organizing Gantt schedules and estimating costs. It lives on, throughout the project, in the project schedule. 

A WBS is a product oriented family tree of phases, activities and tasks which organised, defines and graphically displays the total work to be accomplished in order to achieve the final objectives of a project. It is a fundamental project management technique for defining and organizing the total scope of a project, using a hierarchical tree structure. 

Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project. It is a system for subdividing a project into manageable work packets, components or elements to provide a common framework for scope schedule, costs, allocation of responsibility, communications, risk assessment monitoring and control.

Project Management WBS (PM WBS)? 

A PM WBS helps break thousands of tasks into chunks that we can understand and assimilate. It is the foundation of a project schedule and project resource estimates, and is used to build the project plan. Preparing and understanding a PM WBS for a project is a big step towards managing and mastering its inherent complexity. 

Project managers regularly are challenged to clearly describe desired project outcomes to all involved, while they also capture the order and sequence of the work necessary to produce those outcomes.

The PM WBS defines the total scope of a particular project in a hierarchal format. It breaks a large work effort into smaller pieces that may be easily understood, monitored, and controlled. 

The subdivision continues until the described work element is small enough to be adequately scheduled, resourced, monitored, and managed. Once it is complete, the PM WBS becomes an essential building block and reference point for other project plan components. 
It is important to understand that the PM WBS is a project management tool. Once the work is identified as a "project" (refer to project definition in Section 2 - What is a Project), the PM WBS can be used as a valuable tool for the project managers to break the project deliverable into smaller components.

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