Manage projects with WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)

The WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is a “hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables”, at least that’s how PMBOK5 defines it.
This approach allows you to scheme-out complex projects starting from a “macro” level and gradually breaking down each “phase” into simpler elements. Simpler elements allows a better precision in estimation, management, control and verification. We do not want to enter into the good practices related to the WBS here, but we will focus on how to use it in Twproject. You will find on our blog several articles about it; a good start How to decompose a project: WBS examples
We will create an example project: “My bike”; at this stage we will not worry about dates, resources, types etc. Twproject allows us to create a new project with 2 clicks:

Twproject will automatically assign an unique code to the project (we will return to the topic of auto-coding with a dedicated post) and will assign us as “project manager” (also on this topic there will be a lot to say).

The area highlighted in yellow will contain our WBS.
Everything starts by clicking on the “+” circled in orange; with a few clicks our structure will be ready:

We can break down our project without a predefined limit. Usually 4 or 5 levels are enough even for very complex projects.

The WBS allows us to “collapse”, as highlighted, the phases we are not working on, to focus on the phases of interest.

The WBS also allows us to remove phases created by mistake.

As before mentioned, at this stage we did not deal with dates, but with the logical decomposition.

The WBS can organize documents, costs, micro activities (ToDo). The project security configuration will use the WBS structure as well.
The WBS is the skeleton of the project!

The WBS will behave like a menu to navigate within the project, by far better than previous Twproject versions.
But the Twproject WBS is not only a project definition tool, but also for a quick check.
In fact, once our project has started and fed with planning data, work done, costs, documentation, our WBS enrich with information.

For example, if our project does not respect the dates we will have alerts on the offending phases.

Note the color of the alerts which for the “Frame set” phase is gray while it is red for the “Braking system” phase.
This means that “Frame set” is not delayed, but keeps one or more phases that are.

Indeed expanding the phase, we see that the late sub-phase is “Seat”:

The same alert logic applies to

– costs in case of budget or estimate overrun
– allocations in case of overrun of the working capacity of the resources
– on ToDo’s in case of overrun of the planned dates

Twproject’s WBS is a powerful definition, edit and control tool for projects of any size.

Want to try the WBS with your own project?

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