Have you ever tried to go the market with a list of items you want to buy? Do you often forget some key items while creating the list? Are you planning a program and forget to include one of the logistics element? Submitted a contract bid just to discover you missed an essential constituent of your costing? These situations are true with using a list to itemize the works to be done on a project.
Let me introduce you to a key project management and systems engineering tool called Work Break Down structure, WBS. The WBS is a tool used to define and group a project’s discrete work elements in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project.
The WBS provides the project manager and team with the necessary framework of tasks going forward to create detailed cost estimates and also to provide major input to project task scheduling at the most detailed and accurate level possible. By going through the WBS motions, the project manager and team will have a pretty good idea whether or not they’ve captured all the necessary tasks, based on the project requirements, that are going to need to happen to get the job done.
Why is it important to develop a WBS?
- WBS forces the team to create detailed steps.
The WBS forces the project manager, team members, and customers to delineate the steps required to build and deliver the product or service. The exercise alone encourages a dialogue that will help clarify ambiguities, bring out assumptions, narrow the scope of the project, and raise critical issues early on.
- WBS lays the groundwork for schedule and budget
It lays the groundwork for developing an effective schedule and good budget plans. A well-defined WBS enables resources to be allocated to specific tasks, helps in generating a meaningful schedule, and makes calculating a reliable budget easier.
- WBS creates accountability
The level of detail in a WBS makes it easier to hold people accountable for completing their tasks. With a defined WBS, people cannot hide under the “cover of broadness.” A well-defined task can be assigned to a specific individual, who is then responsible for its completion.
- WBS breeds commitment
The process of developing and completing a WBS breeds excitement and commitment. Although the project manager will often develop the high-level WBS, he will seek the participation of his core team to flesh out the extreme detail of the WBS. This participation will spark involvement in the project.
So whether you’re an entrepreneur or a project manager within a larger organization, institute WBS and get better coordination. Get the results you need.
Your Project Management Coach
PM Hub Nigeria