Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), in Project Management and Systems Engineering, is a deliverable-oriented decay of a project into lesser mechanisms. WBS is a key project deliverable that arranges the team's work into handy sections. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines WBS as a "deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team."
WBS element may be a product, data, service, or any combination thereof. WBS also delivers the essential framework for full cost estimation and control along with providing guidance for schedule development and control.
WBS is signified as a hierarchical list of project’s work activities. There are two formats of WBS −
Let us first debate how to use the outline view for preparing a WBS.
The outline view is a very user-friendly layout. It boons a good view of the whole project and lets cool modifications as well. It uses numbers to record the various stages of a project. It looks somewhat similar to the following −
Let us now have a glimpse at the tree structure view.
The Tree Structure View offerings a very easy-to-understand view of the entire project. The resulting illustration shows how a tree structure view looks like. This type of organizational chart structure can be simply drawn with the features available in MS-Word.
There are two types of WBS −
Step 1 − Start with functional WBS.
Step 2 − Consider the leaf nodes.
Step 3 − Use either Analogy or Wideband Delphi to arrive at the size estimates.
Step 1 − Use Wideband Delphi Technique to construct WBS. We suggest that the tasks should not be more than 8 hrs. If a task is of larger duration, split it.
Step 2 − Use Wideband Delphi Technique or Three-point Estimation to arrive at the Effort Estimates for the Tasks.
Once the WBS is ready and the size and effort estimates are known, you are ready for scheduling the tasks.
While scheduling the tasks, certain things should be taken into account −
Critical Path Method (CPM) is the procedure for determining and enhancing the critical path. Non-critical path tasks can start previous or later without impacting the completion date.
Please note that critical path may change to another as you shorten the current one. For instance, for WBS in the previous figure, the critical path would be as follows –
As the project conclusion date is based on a set of consecutive tasks, these tasks are called critical tasks.
The project completion date is not based on the training, documentation and deployment. Such tasks are called non-critical tasks.
Certain times, while scheduling, you may have to consider task dependency relationships. The important Task Dependency Relationships are −
In Finish-to-Start (FS) task dependency relationship, Task B cannot start till Task A is completed.
In Finish-to-Finish (FF) task dependency relationship, Task B cannot finish till Task A is completed.
A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart, adapted by Karol Adamiecki in 1896 and independently by Henry Gantt in the 1910s, that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project.
You can take the Outline Format in Figure 2 into Microsoft Project to obtain a Gantt Chart View.
Milestones are the serious stages in your timetable. They will have period of zero and are used to flag that you have completed certain set of tasks. Milestones are typically shown as a diamond.
For instance, in the above Gantt Chart, Design Complete and Development Complete are shown as milestones, represented with a diamond shape.
Milestones can be tied to Contract Terms.
WBS shortens the procedure of project estimation to a great degree. It offers the resulting advantages over other estimation techniques −
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