A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a key project deliverable that organizes the team’s work into manageable sections. The Project Management Body of Knowledge defines the work breakdown structure as a “deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team.”
With our free work breakdown structure template, the project team creates the work breakdown structure by identifying the major functional deliverable’s and subdividing those deliverable’s into smaller systems and sub-deliverable’s.
Work Breakdown Structure Template
Use for Excel, OpenOffice, and Google Sheets
The work breakdown structure visually defines the scope into manageable chunks that a project team can understand, as each level of the work breakdown structure provides further definition and detail. These sub-deliverable’s are further decomposed until a single person can be assigned. At this level, the specific work packages required to produce the sub- deliverable are identified and grouped together. From a cost perspective, these work packages are usually grouped and assigned to a specific department to produce the work. These departments, or cost accounts, are defined in an organizational breakdown structure and are allocated a budget to produce the specific deliverable’s. By integrating the cost accounts from the organizational breakdown structure and the project’s work breakdown structure, the entire organization can track financial progress in addition to project performance.
The work breakdown structure has a number of benefits in addition to defining and organizing the project work. A project budget can be allocated to the top levels of the work breakdown structure, and department budgets can be quickly calculated based on each project’s work breakdown structure. By allocating time and cost estimates to specific sections of the work breakdown structure, a project schedule and budget can be quickly developed. As the project executes, specific sections of the work breakdown structure can be tracked to identify project cost performance and identify issues and problem areas in the project organization. Project work breakdown structures can also be used to identify potential risks in a given project. If a work breakdown structure has a branch that is not well defined then it represents a scope definition risk. These risks should be tracked in a project log and reviewed as the project executes. By integrating the work breakdown structure with an organizational breakdown structure, the project manager can also identify communication points and formulate a communication plan across the project organization. Downloading our amazing free work breakdown structure template will help you to work in a much more efficient manner.