When speaking about WBS or a Work Breakdown Structure in project management, you’re essentially going over the method by which a project is segmented into a number of specific zones of delivery.
In short, these deliverables, subtasks and primary tasks are used to help better understand a project’s complexity and levels of importance. Each of these deliverables is typically highlighted with a due date, a budget or cost and information on a team of staff who are working on this specific task and when.
These WBS structures give you a solid look into a project and offer an excellent top-down look at how a task is likely to be undertaken. If you’ve undertaken formal education in project management, such as a Monarch Diploma in Project Management you’ll know that these project breakdowns are essential to the efficient undertaking of a task.
With that said, let’s take a look below at what WBS is and why it’s an integral workflow to undertake in any project of any size.
Here’s Why We Use WBS
When it comes to most projects, it’s hard to estimate and understand just how long, how costly or what needs to be undertaken without a correct plan in place.
With that in mind, we need to work on breaking it down or segmenting it into smaller parts with some essential details on each of these ‘parts.’ When doing this, you’ll be able to see which segments of a project are going to take longer than others, which will be more costly and which have the chance to cause a chain reaction if they’re delayed.
That in mind, with a Work Breakdown Structure, you’re able to effortlessly plan how a task will be completed and have metrics on just about everything from how long the project will take and even when you’ll need to bring in new team members to keep the ball rolling should a slowdown occur.
To end, with a solid WBS you’re going to see a linear and chronological look at a project and be able to spot exactly when each segment in this linear or multi-linear project needs to be completed to keep costs low and to keep everything on track.
How WBS Allows Us to Better Complete Projects
As you might suspect, the WBS process can be adapted to suit any workflow of just about any complexity and size.
With that in mind, you’re able to use a WBS to assist with everything from a renovation to planning an event, and this becomes particularly useful for project managers who work across a range of industries.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look below at how these WBS structures allow us to better estimate and manage projects and why you should consider using one.
High-priority Deliverables are Spotlighted
Off the top, the most important deliverables are able to be seen right at the beginning of your breakdown and you’re able to focus on the completion of these before each subsequent task on your checklist.
What this means is that you’re able to keep a good watch of everything that needs to be done in an order that works best with regards to efficiency. You’ll know that one task must be completed before the other, and have the planning sheet to tell you when to move forward.
If one task is completed too early, you might be stuck with costly delays or the inability to move on to step two. This is where your WBS will come in most handy as you’re able to slowly complete tasks in calculated ways that ensure there’s no off-schedule completion of each segment.
The Improved Mobilisation of Staff
A second major perk of the WBS planning sheet is that you’ll have information on exactly when and who needs to be contracted for a specific segment of the plan.
This is particularly useful for those complicated projects which have a number of workflows that all need to be completed at similar times in order for the next ‘wave’ of contractors and staff to move forward.
With the WBS on hand, you’ll be able to pull back the reins on specific workflows to make sure the completion of a range of the ‘segments’ in your WBS are occurring at the same time and reduce as many slowdowns as possible.
To add, this mobilization of staff and cohesive completion time will ensure you’re able to save as much time and money as possible when it comes to the finalization of a project.
With all of our points above out of the way, it isn’t too hard to notice that with a top-down look at a project with your WBS you’re better able to move forward with project cost estimation and a more streamlined completion of projects.
For the project managers out there or the prospective project managers, you’re able to rely on formal education to outline and provide insight on these incredible WBS workflows and to get the most out of using a WBS in your industry or workplace’s complex projects.