Understanding the Various WBS Levels

Although the project manager is free to determine the number of levels in the WBS based on the complexity of the project, all WBS structures start with the project itself. Some WBS structures show the project as level one. Others show the level under the project, or the first level of decomposition, as level one. The PMBOKĀ® Guide notes that level one is the project level, so I'll follow that example here.

The first level of decomposition might be the deliverables, phases, or subprojects, as I talked about earlier. (Remember that the first level of decomposition is actually the second level of the WBS because the project level is the first level.) The levels that follow show more and more detail and might include more deliverables followed by requirements. Each of these breakouts is called a level in the WBS. The lowest level of any WBS is called the work package level. (I'll talk more about this in "Defining Work Packages" later in this chapter.) The goal is to construct the WBS to the work package level where you can easily and reliably estimate cost and schedule dates. Keep in mind that some projects or deliverables may need only one or two levels of decomposition.

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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