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A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool and technique used to decompose project scope components into smaller and more manageable components or work packages. The project manager creates it with project team members, and it has many purposes. First, the WBS helps identify the major deliverables of the project. It creates a total view of the project in small, mana' components and, finally, the WBS helps create a common understanding of the project delivers

A work breakdown structure is composed of two elements. The first is levels of work, of which th are three. The highest level is usually the project name or the major task. Intermediate levels of are subcomponents or higher level tasks, sometimes called summary tasks. Summary tasks ari to sum up the type of tasks below them. Summary tasks help you categorize your thoughts. Twc examples of possible summary level tasks are the departments of an organization or geographic boundaries. Finally, work packages are the lowest level of work, sometimes just called the work

The other element of the WBS is a unique number identifier. Figure 2.1 shows the three levels o and the unique number identifiers.

Figure 2.1: WBS with three levels

There are eight steps to create a work breakdown structure:

1. Determine the format used in creating the WBS. You can use either a tree structure or an outline.

2. Determine how many levels of decomposition are appropriate for your project.

3. Determine how the levels of the work breakdown structure will be organized.

4. Label level one the project name.

5. At level two, decompose the project into a set of deliverables.

6. For each subsequent level, decompose the level above into smaller components.

7. Create the lowest level of decomposition. This level, called the work package, should be enough to easily assign to one person to complete. You also will be able to easily create and cost estimates for this level.

8. Create a unique numerical identifier for each component on the work breakdown structur The numbering scheme starts at the left side of the WBS and works the same as a nume outline (e.g., 1.0, 1.1, 1.1.2, etc.).

Note Recommended Reading: Chapter 4, pp. 130-137, PMP Project Management Profess Study Guide.

In Exercise 2.1, you'll guide a TPMP project manager through creating a work breakdown struct order to help a client reach its goals with the credit card validation project.

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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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