Creating a Work Breakdown Structure

Tony Agront, PMP, MBA
A free video tutorial from Tony Agront, PMP, MBA
Project Management Consultant and Instructor, 20+ Years Exp.
4.4 instructor rating • 2 courses • 5,619 students

Lecture description

In this section, we will cover the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). We will cover the definition and importance of a WBS for project scheduling. I will provide a sample Work Breakdown Structure and walk through the important parts.


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Microsoft Project Basics - How to Create Your First Project

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01:17:23 of on-demand video • Updated July 2016

  • Understand the features of Microsoft Project
  • Read and interpret a project schedule built on MS Project
  • Develop a full blown project schedule on MS Project on their own
  • Identify the Critical Path of a Project
  • Learn Project Scheduling Best Practices
English Hi welcome back to creating your first microsoft schedule. So now we're going to go into talking about our work breakdown structure and that's going to be our first step in developing our project schedule. So we have to have an idea of what is a work breakdown structure and how we can go about developing the work breakdown structure. Again it's the critical part in our first step to developing a project schedule We want to have this done before we actually start working within Microsoft Project So first of all what is a work breakdown structure, well it's pretty much what it says. It's really a way that you can show the work and having a little structure of how you're going to show the work for the project So you divide the project into chunks and you say well this is how we're going to accomplish the work for the project So you have a little structure to it and it's important because if you don't do this, you're going to get to a point where you're just going to add tasks within your schedule and you can put it here in this line and you're not going to have any type of organizational type of way that you're maintaining the structural integrity of the projects schedule It will get out of whack real quickly You might start adding tasks that you already added in and you might have duplicate tasks and stuff like that. So it's good to have a structured organization - how you are going to have the project being run so the main tool that I use developing a work breakdown structure is Microsoft Excel only because I can do it any way. I can show it in a nice way with using the tables. It's easier to for me to manipulate the tables within Excel. So I use Microsoft Excel for my work breakdown structure. You can do it within Microsoft Project and there is a way to do it within microsoft project but just go ahead and use Excel; it's a much that simpler tool to actually do the work breakdown structure. So let's take a look at what our work breakdown structure will look like So I'm going to have the project that we're going to be doing in this course is called the ABC software application enhancement. I picked this type of application enhancement project basically because it was rather simple and not that complex. So our work breakdown structure, let's take a look at what it looks like So here is a sample work breakdown structure Now if you look at it, it looks like an organization chart. You have the top part here where it's really called level one and you have the first level task and that's actually the project, so it's just a project name on the first level. The second level and this is the typical way of numbering this is basically how you going to break down the work. So I broke it into different silos here and one for management, requirements, design, development, test, and delivery. So we have different silos that we're going to be using for where we're going to put our tasks So we have tasks under management, we have tasks under requirements and so on and it's just a way that we organizing the tasks so we're looking at it top-down how we're going to accomplish this project. So we have these tasks already and into a structured environment Now let's take a look at how we can actually work that within Excel how we're going to put some task in there. So I'm going to open up Excel and I have Excel and I have a work breakdown structure already developed for that - lets go to that So this is our application enhancement project again that we're talking about and I have these tasks in here where I have the software application enhancement at the top level then i have the individual silos that I'm going to be doing work within. Underneath in these individual areas I'm going to start adding tasks and I did that already for you guys where I have like for instance under management I have create the statement of work, establish a project charter, develop and baseline a schedule, develop and baseline the budget and so on. I would have all these tasks within different areas. This shows our work breakdown structure. So I'll expand it all out for you We have all these tasks already within our work breakdown structure. So these are our individual tasks that we're going to be accomplishing within our project. We broke it out this way so we know that okay, well, what's going to be done in the design area, what's going to be done in any particular area. We have that already understood. So, next, we're going to do one more step before we actually close out developing the work breakdown structure and say we finished this and this to actually look at some of the resources that we're going to use. So we want to make sure that we understand who are we going to be using within these particular tasks So I've done that in a separate tab so I like to do that in a separate tab as well I have certain resources. Now i'll expand that out and I'll show you for instance I'll put like resources on the lead or a person and any type of material that we will be using. Again, we're not going to be covering material too much in this course but we will talk about this So this is how you would map out all the resources that you're going to be using on the particular task so we have an idea of who we are going to be using on each individual task. We make sure we have that all identified here Now one thing that you want to do, you develop this work breakdown structure at the beginning but you may want to go back and modify this add some tasks when you start adding task into there but at least when we have this in the beginning of the project we understand what the work breakdown structure is. It establishes our idea of how the project is going to go. Some people go back and actually modify the work breakdown structure is they come along That is the proper way but understand that you know it takes a lot of going back and forth when you are going to update microsoft project then go back to excel So do your best to maintain the integrity of the work breakdown structure but establish your work breakdown structure in the beginning very critical to understand. You have to understand you have to have a work breakdown structure in the beginning. So once we actually have all that that information we're going to be able to work within Microsoft Project and i'm going to show you how we do all that within Microsoft Project and how we actually add all our resources and all our task in there so next time when we actually meet we're going to open up Microsoft Project. I'm going to set it up so that we can actually start putting up our information in there. Thank you and I'll see you there