After the project scope is defined, the next step is to define the activities or tasks the project team must undertake ore fulfil the scope deliverable requirements. The work breakdown structure is a useful tool for developing the project plan and links the project’s scope to the schedule and budget.
The WBS represents a logical decomposition of the work to be performed and focuses on how the product, service, or result is naturally subdivided. It is an outline of what work is to be performed.
The WBS provides a framework for developing a tactical plan to structure the project work. The WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the project’s scope that the project team will deliver over the course of the project. The total scope of the project is divided and subdivided into specific deliverables that can be more easily managed. The WBS provides an outline for all of the work that that project team will perform.
Work Packages: The WBS decomposes the project into smaller components and more manageable units of work called work packages. Work packages provide a logical basis for defining the project activities and assigning the resources to those activities so that all the project work is identified. A work package makes it possible to develop a project plan, schedule, and budget and then later monitor the project’s progress.
Deliverables and Milestones: A milestone is a significant event or achievement that provides evidence that the deliverable has been completed or that a phase is formally over. While a deliverable includes such things as presentations, report, plans and final application system, a milestone must focus on achievement. If a project team succeeds in meeting all of
its scheduled milestones, the project should finish as planned. The project risk is reduced by having a milestone.
Features of WBS:
The WBS should be Deliverable Oriented.
The WBS should support the Project’s MOV.
The Level of Detail should support Planning and Control.
Developing the WBS should involve people actually doing the work.
Learning cycles and lessons learned can support the development of a WBS.
How WBS maps to DDT and DSC:
The deliverable definition table (DDT) has a clear and concise definition of all project deliverables. The purpose of the DDT is to define all of the project-oriented deliverables to be provided by the project team.
Once the deliverables have been defined in the DDT we make a deliverable structure chart (DSC). The DSC defines the phases and deliverables for the project. DSC is developed as an interim step to define detailed work packages that will be used to estimate the project schedule and budget. Later on these work packages are used to create the WBS.
Example of WBS:
In WBS, we subdivide the project work obtained from the DSC into lower levels of detail or components that represent a verifiable product, service or result. Consider the Testing phase in building an e-commerce application. There are two deliverables we obtain from the DSC – Test plan and Test results. Let’s take the example of building a WBS for the Test Results document –
After much deliberation with the client we identify the different activities that we need to do in order to produce the test results document:
a) Review the test plan with the client so that key stakeholders are clear as to what we will be testing, how we will conduct the tests, and when the tests will be carried out.
b) After the client is informed that we will test the system, we carry out the tests outlined in the plan.
c) Once we have the test results, we analyze them.
d) Once analyzed, they need to be summarized in the report.
e) If all goes well, the client signs off on the test results and we move on to the implementation phase.