Understanding Work Breakdown Structure Codes

Each item and level in a work breakdown structure is described by a unique WBS code. Each digit in the code typically represents a level in the structure's hierarchy, such as 2.1.4.3 or c 5.B.c.3. A WBS code such as 1.2.3 might represent the third deliverable for the second activity p in the first phase of the project.

Note In some industries or application areas, the work breakdown structure is also known as the project breakdown structure, or PBS.

In Microsoft Project, any outline structure you set up for your tasks is assigned a set of unique outline numbers. The outline number for the first summary task is 1; the outline number for the first subtask under the first summary task is 1.1 (see Figure 3-19).

O

Outline Number

WBS

Task Name

Duration

1

1

1

E Phase 1 - Strategic Plan

23 days

2

1.1

1.1

B Self-Assessment

3 days

3

1.1.1

1.1.1

Define business vision

1 day

4

1.1.2

1.1.2

Identify available skills, information and support

1 day

5

1.1.3

1.1.3

Decide whether to proceed

1 day

6

1.2

1.2

E Define the Opportunity

10 days

7

1.2.1

1.2.1

Research the market and competition

1 day

8

1.2.2

1.2.2

Interview owners of similar businesses

5 days

9

1.2.3

1.2.3

Identify needed resources

2 days

10

1.2.4

1.2.4

Identify operating cost elements

2 days

11

1.3

1.3

E Evaluate Business Approach

4 days

12

1.3.1

1.3.1

Define new entity requirements

1 day

13

1.3.2

1.3.2

Identify on-going business purchase opportunities

1 day

14

1.3.3

1.3.3

Research franchise possibilities

1 day

15

1.3.4

1.3.4

Summarize business approach

1 day

16

1.4

1.4

B Evaluate Potential Risks and Rewards

7 days

17

1.4.1

1.4.1

Assess market size and stability

2 days

18

1.4.2

1.4.2

Estimate the competition

1 day

Figure 3-19. The outline number specifies the task's position in your project plan's task outline hierarchy.

By default, Microsoft Project creates WBS codes that are derived from these outline numbers, and you can't change the code scheme of the outline numbers. However, if you and your organization have a specific WBS coding scheme, you can change the WBS numbering. When working with WBS codes, keep the following in mind:

• You can have only one set of WBS codes. However, if you use additional coding schemes, you can create up to ten sets of outline codes and then sort or group your tasks by those codes.

Note Certain project management methodologies use other structured and hierarchical codes that can describe your project from different viewpoints. Examples include the organizational breakdown structure (OBS), the resource breakdown structure (RBS), and the bill of materials (BOM).

For more information about outline codes, see "Working with Outline Codes" on page 806.

• You can include ordered numbers, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters as part of your custom WBS code format. You can also include unordered characters in the code format.

• You can automatically generate your custom WBS codes for tasks as you add them.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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