Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Project Management

Adriana Girdler

What a WBS is and how to use it Are you confused about Work Breakdown Structure and want to know how it works? Every Project …

What a WBS is and how to use it

Are you confused about Work Breakdown Structure and want to know how it works? Every Project Manager needs to know what a WBS is and how to create one for every project. After creating countless Work Breakdown Structures for projects I’ve managed, I’m prepared to share with you exactly what you need to know about how to create a WBS, complete with an example.

1 – What is a WBS?

WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure. In short, it is a hierarchical chart that breaks down a project or deliverable into manageable chunks (think of it like an org chart). It simplifies something complex, like a project, so that you know what you need to do to deliver it.

2 – WBS Layout

Again, you can think of the WBS layout like a hierarchical org chart. Your top level will be the biggest thing. On a project, that’s usually your project, goal, deliverable, or department.

Right below that is level 2. Each level two component displays a major activity.

On level 3 below that, you have your milestone or bucket items for each major activity.

Finally, on level 4, you have the task, due dates and responsibility that needs to take place in order to accomplish the milestone or bucket item.

3 – WBS Layout Example

With a topic like this, it’s much easier to show you an example than to try to explain it in words. If you head on over to YouTube with me for a few minutes, I’m going to show you visually exactly how a WBS is laid out, complete with an example that I’ll explain. This will help you understand how you can create a WBS for any project.

I really hope that you found this helpful – and if you did, it would mean so much to me if you would share it on your social media.

Meanwhile, if you really are committed to mastering your next project, do consider taking my SLAY Project Management online course where I show you step-by-step how to successfully manage a project, plus you get access to every template you will need, along with detailed video instructions on how to fill them out.


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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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