Beginning your project using a WBS (a breakdown structure)

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Published: 13th December 2010
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What is a WBS?

WBS stands for work breakdown structure. A work break down structure is a tactics of arranging a series of tasks to confirm a valid planning method to your project. Work breakdown structures are usually used for large projects involving a significant level of complexity. Work breakdown structure number follows a typical hierarchical pattern and this is used for perceptibly identifying individual tasks and heading tasks. There can be any number of levels in a work breakdown structure, however a treble level work break down structure is one of the most routine used.

Using a work breakdown structure for Project plotting

When commencing the planning development consider logical groupings of tasks. The groupings could be positioned on a number of contrasting variables, including, geography, system comprehensiveness, location, or any other logical arrangement. Think of the number of levels you would like to use in your work breakdown structure, a three level work breakdown structure is one of the most commonly used as it is not very shallow and not too deep. Respect your work breakdown structure as a communication tool. It assists others follow how you have logically grouped tasks, and the context that you have assigned to those tasks.

A work breakdown structure is comprised of summary tasks, and activity tasks. Summary tasks may lead to supply the information associated with some tasks. With enough work breakdown structure planning is undertaken online at the last level tasks. High level tasks inherit the earliest start date and the latest finish date of all their sub- tasks. A sophisticated planning system will take this into account automatically. One effective way of deciding what groups of tasks along in subheadings is to consider the element of cost. Those elements that need to be costed together should be group group together. These groupings may represent clients or billing points within the project. There may also represent project milestones.

Not all planning systems incorporate the concept of a work breakdown structure. Child care and has developed an Excel based system that effectively and automatically calculates higher level work breakdown structure elements. Consider using a sophisticated planning tool such as chart bed for your work breakdown structure planning. Such a solution will enable you to focus on planning and not on the technical elements of creating the structure.

Marcus Tarrant is a senior management consultant that has worked for leading consulting firms including Deloitte Consulting. After years of developing and selling sophisticated planning solutions, he has built the Chart Gantt range of templates to provide professional quality planning in excel. He has developed an automated Work Breakdown Structure tool for excel, that enables users to focus on their plan, rather than updating manually the WBS Task .

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