Create Work Breakdown Structure Process : PMBOK 6 Study

All large-scale work may be somehow frightening. Most projects may seem difficult to overcome at first glance. It is not often that this fear is unwarranted. Because you can't swallow a whole bread at once. To do this, you must also break the whole bread and chew it one by one and swallow it. We also need to break down the work involved in the project into pieces that we can chew, and overcome all one by one. This is the most rational way. Work breakdown structure is also a concept that exists for this purpose. 

As a very important aspect of the PMP exam, create work breakdown structure (WBS) process falls under the planning processing group and project scope management knowledge area. In project's lifecycle it is done after collecting requirements and defining the project scope. In other terms, before creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) you have to know precisely what work is involved in the scope of the project. The create work breakdown structure (WBS) process is the process that we use to decompose the project work or deliverables until it reaches the most manageable components of work.

So if you see the definition of creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) process, it subdivides project deliverables and project work into smaller and more manageable components called work packages. Therefore you have to decompose your complete work as part of the create work breakdown structure (WBS) process into the smaller set of work packages. A work breakdown structure (WBS) should reflect all of the project work without neglecting any. A project without a work breakdown structure (WBS) can not exist for long.

Create work breakdown structure (WBS) process got only two tools and techniques one is decomposition and the second one is expert judgment. Decomposition is something like breaking the bigger component into a smaller set of components. In the create work breakdown structure (WBS) process, we simply decompose the complete project work that we caught from the scope statement into this smaller set of manageable pieces called work packages. These work packages will link to the control unit. Work packages are the minimum level of the work breakdown structure (WBS).

Work packages will be decomposed also in processes like defining the project activities and estimating cost and schedule however this decomposition will never be a part of the work breakdown structure (WBS). What we need when creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) may vary from project to project. But when creating work breakdown structure (WBS) according to best practice examples when PMBOK is taken as a reference, we essentially need a scope management plan that basically includes principles related to preparing work breakdown structure (WBS), a project scope statement to understand what work is within the scope and what work is not, and documents about the requirements of the project. 

The work breakdown structure can be created using the bottom-up technique, or it can be created using work breakdown structure (WBS) templates. Using different methods is also in the area of freedom of the project manager. work breakdown structure (WBS) forms the approved scope baseline together with work breakdown structure (WBS) Dictionary and Project Scope Statement.

Outputs of Create work breakdown structure process

  • Work breakdown structure : A graphical depiction of project work that is decomposed until reaching the smallest manageable work package.
  • Work breakdown structure dictionary: Consists of features of work packages, deliveries and control accounts of WBS. These two complements each other.
  • Scope baseline: This includes simply necessary work to complete the project. Throughout the project, we will compare the actual performance of the project with the scope baseline in order to control the scope.

Outputs Updated in Create work breakdown structure process

  • Assumption log
  • Requirements documentation

Inputs of Create work breakdown structure Process

  • Scope management plan: This plan gives us indispensable information about how to build a WBS. Methodology, style and other things which will guide us to develop a WBS will be in the scope management plan. 
  • Project scope statement: This is what we decompose. Scope statement consists of all the work included in the project and we will simply decompose this work in create WBS process
  • Requirements documentation: Similarly we will need requirements to know which work to be decomposed.
  • Enterprise environmental factors: Some industry-specific WBS standards exist about all projects. By using the EEF you can find industry standards about WBS creation that are relevant to the nature of your project.
  • Organizational process assets: You can use related procedures,  existing templates, and organizational policies for the WBS creation. Additionally, the archived information about historical projects will be helpful.

Tools & Techniques used in  Creating Work Breakdown Structure Process

  • Decomposition: It is the main tool to use for subdividing the scope or project deliverables into more manageable parts.
  • Expert judgment: You can use expert judgment for almost all subjects related with the WBS creation.
1-Projectpm 03.06.2021
Thanks for the elaboration. As we can see WBS is a handy tool to deal with any type of projects. Especially the big ones. It would be quite useful for us if you could share a WBS template or an example of WBS. Of course together with WBS dictionary.