Constructing the WBS

There is no "right" way to construct a WBS. In practice, the chart structure is used quite often. (This structure resembles an organization chart with different levels of detail.) But a WBS could be composed in outline form as well. The choice is yours. You'll look at both ways shortly, along with some figures that depict the different levels of a WBS. According to the PMBOKĀ® Guide, you can organize the WBS in several ways:

Major deliverables and subprojects The major deliverables of the project are used as the first level of decomposition in this structure. If you're opening a new store, for example, the deliverables might include determining location, store build-out, furnishings, product, and so on. I'll talk about subprojects in the next section.

Subproject that may be executed outside the project team Another way to organize the work is by subprojects. Perhaps you're expanding an existing highway and several subprojects are involved. Some of your first level of decomposition might include these subprojects: demolition, design, bridgework, and paving. Each of the subproject managers will develop a WBS for their subproject that details the work required for that deliverable. When subproject work is involved, often times the subproject work is contracted out. In this example, if you contracted out the bridgework deliverable, this subproject requires its own WBS, which the seller (the bridgework subcontractor) is responsible for creating as part of the contract and contract work.

Project phases Many projects are structured or organized by project phases. For example, let's say you work in the construction industry. The project phases used in your industry might include project initiation, planning, design, build, inspection, and turnover. A feasibility study might be a deliverable under the project initiation phase, blueprints might be a deliverable under the planning phase, and so on. Each phase listed here would be the first level of decomposition (that is, the first level of the WBS), their deliverables would be the next level, and so on.

We'll take a look at some example WBS structures next.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know aboutā€¦ 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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