Work Breakdown Structure in Project 2013 - dummies

Work Breakdown Structure in Project 2013

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

A best practice in Project 2013 is to create the work breakdown structure, or WBS — a hierarchically organized representation of all the project work. If you have a small project, you may be able to start entering tasks into Project and organize them on the fly. But for any project with more than 50 tasks, consider how to structure and organize the work before you open Project.

The concept of project work includes work that’s necessary to create the product and work that’s necessary to manage the project, such as attending meetings, completing training, and creating documentation.

Generally, you approach the WBS in Project 2013 from the top down. In other words, you evaluate the entire project and then break it into large chunks, and then break the larger chunks into smaller chunks, and so on, until you have a defined, discrete deliverable. That’s where the WBS stops and project tasks begin.

The breaking of WBS deliverables into smaller chunks is known as decomposition.

The WBS houses all deliverables for the project and product scope. It doesn’t include the tasks. Those are strictly for the schedule.

Another way of thinking about the WBS is that it’s composed of nouns, whereas the schedule is composed of actionable verbs. For example, the Water Stations deliverable might be the lowest-level deliverable you would show on the WBS. Then define these tasks for the schedule using the “verb-noun” naming convention:

  1. Identify water companies.

  2. Develop request for quote.

  3. Receive quotes.

  4. Select vendor.

  5. Develop contract.

  6. Sign contract.

  7. Oversee water station setup.