Definition

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Work Breakdown Structure

(Alias: WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a graphical method for depicting the scope of deliverables and services to be produced by a project. The WBS depicts the work as a family tree or hierarchy in the same way a manufacturer would represent the bill of materials breakdown for a cell phone or automobile. The WBS decomposes the project into its component deliverables and services which are then further partitioned into activities and tasks.

The Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure is a graphical method for planning the scope of deliverables and services to be produced by a project. It represents project works as a product oriented family tree of: deliverables, services and work packages. It identifies and describes what's to be developed and links each end product to a statement of work. Your WBS tree can have any number of levels:

  • Level 1 represents the entire project.
  • Level 2 elements provide the major partitioning of the work
  • Level 3 contains definable components, or subsets, of the level 2 elements and so on.

The optimal depth of your tree is governed by the amount detail you need to effectively plan and control your project.

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