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How to Issue a Contract for Work Breakdown Structure Services

You use a work breakdown structure (WBS) that you include in a contract for services to be provided to you by another person or organization differently from the way you use one to guide project work that you or your organization performs itself.

When you perform the project yourself, the WBS provides the basis for developing detailed project schedules, estimating personnel and other resource requirements, detailing the project roles and responsibilities of project team members, and assessing all aspects of the ongoing work. However, when you manage a contract with an external organization that’s performing the project for you, you use the WBS to

  • Support responsive progress assessment to help ensure that the overall project is on track to finish on time and within budget.

  • Provide the contractor with a framework for tracking and reporting periodic assessments of project schedule achievement and resource expenditures.

  • Confirm that product, schedule, and resource performance is sufficient to justify the making of scheduled progress payments

In addition, you don’t want the WBS to unduly restrict the contractor’s ability to use his experience, skills, and professional judgment to achieve the results detailed in the contract. Typically, developing the WBS to two or three levels of detail is sufficient to meet the preceding needs without creating unnecessary restrictions.

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