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Work Breakdown Structure

(Alias: WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a graphical method for depicting the scope of deliverables and services to be produced by a project. The WBS depicts the work as a family tree or hierarchy in the same way a manufacturer would represent the bill of materials breakdown for a cell phone or automobile. The WBS decomposes the project into its component deliverables and services which are then further partitioned into activities and tasks.

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The Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure is a graphical method for planning the scope of deliverables and services to be produced by a project. It represents project works as a product oriented family tree of: deliverables, services and work packages. It identifies and describes what's to be developed and links each end product to a statement of work. Your WBS tree can have any number of levels:

  • Level 1 represents the entire project.
  • Level 2 elements provide the major partitioning of the work
  • Level 3 contains definable components, or subsets, of the level 2 elements and so on.

The optimal depth of your tree is governed by the amount detail you need to effectively plan and control your project.

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RE Definition: Work Breakdown Structure

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