The project scope statement provides an overview of the entire project scope and is important to know for the PMP Certification Exam. The requirements provide detailed information about the objectives, needs, and expectations. This information is necessary to successfully manage the project, but it doesn’t organize the information in a way that allows the team to easily plan, manage, and control the project.

That’s what a work breakdown structure (WBS) is for. The WBS organizes the project scope. It starts at a high level and progresses downward to decompose the deliverables into finer levels of detail so that the team can identify all the deliverables necessary to meet the project objectives.

Create WBS. The process of subdividing project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.

Work breakdown structure. A hierarchical decomposition of the total work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

The WBS organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Many practitioners create WBSs that are deliverable-oriented — meaning that the WBS is based on the end products, not the work necessary to create the end products. The work is represented in the activity list that is part of the schedule.

The scope management plan, the scope statement, and the requirements documentation are the key inputs for this process. You might be able to use certain organizational process assets to help create your WBS.

In particular, if your organization does similar projects (for example, creating websites, designing networks, product development, or even construction), there might be a template available you can use to begin your WBS. Of course, your particular project will need to modify the template to reflect the unique aspects of your project, but templates and information from prior projects provide a nice starting point.

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