WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)

Posted on July 21, 2009 by

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A WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is a project document that displays a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the project work. At the first level of decomposition, the major branches of the WBS could represent phases, major deliverables, or subprojects. At each lower level, the work is broken down into more detail. This process of breaking down the work into its more detailed components is called decomposition. The lowest level components of the hierarchy are called Work Packages. The WBS contains the entire scope of the project. The approved detailed scope statement with its WBS and WBS Dictionary is called the Scope Baseline for a project.

The WBS is an output of the fourth edition PMBOK®’s Create Work Breakdown Structure process. The Project Management Institute has also released an 111-page standard for creating a WBS called The Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures (http://www.pmi.org/Marketplace/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?GMProduct=00100084701). Also see the earlier posting of Create Work Breakdown Structure Process (posted February 27, 2009).