Work Breakdown Structure Best Practices

Adriana Girdler

Steps to ensure you’re using the WBS to its fullest capacity Are you new to creating Work Breakdown Structures for projects? You need to know …

Steps to ensure you’re using the WBS to its fullest capacity

Are you new to creating Work Breakdown Structures for projects?

You need to know the do’s and don’ts of creating and using a WBS. Running a successful project is not just about using the documentation you’ve heard is important… You actually need to understand the purpose of those documents and how to use them so that they’ll be a tool, not a source of confusion, for your project.

Here are a couple of best practices to follow when it comes to creating a WBS for your project.

Have your team collaborate on it

This is one of the key best practices to follow when it comes to using your WBS.

Why do you need to have your team collaborate on your WBS?

When you break down your project deliverables into manageable chunks, what comes to the surface are the activities that your team will have to execute. If they help you in the creation of that, then they’re going to be the first ones to say, “Hey, that task is under my jurisdiction.”

This means that you start to automatically build accountability.

Collaborating with your team on creating the WBS is also a great brainstorming activity that ensures nothing is being missed on the tactical tasks (level 4) of the WBS.

If you give them a WBS pre-made, they won’t accept it as easily as if they collaborate on it and actually feel a sense of ownership for those tasks and activities.

Use verbs for level 4

When you’re making the level 4 section of the WBS, you’re now at a point where you’re listing out the tactical tasks.

Each task should have its own line item, and within that, there should be verbs associated with it.

For example, you might have a training plan. The tactic associated with it would be something like, “Create an outline for the training plan.” That word “create” is what’s going to ensure that everything you’re adding to level 4 is actually on a tactical level.

More WBS Best Practices

There are a couple more key best practices that will ensure you’re using the WBS to its full capacity. Head over to my most recent YouTube video and I’ll keep breaking it down there!

I go way more in-depth on this topic in my SLAY Project Management online course where I show you step-by-step how to successfully manage a project. You’ll get every template you will need, along with detailed video instructions on how to fill them out.

Adriana Girdler, PMP | Creator of Slay Project Management

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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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