work breakdown structure (WBS)
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work breakdown structure (WBS)
WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE
A project and implimentation work breakdown structure (WBS) is a deliverable or product-oriented grouping of
project and implimentation work elements shown in graphical display to organize and subdivide the total work
scope of a project and implimentation.
The WBS is a particularly important project and implimentation tool. Considerable thought and planning should
be given to its development and implementation so that subsequent changes are minimized.
Major revisions to a WBS require both substantial effort and resources, due to its application
to a wide array of project and implimentation activities. Project WBSs, which are driven by the scope of a
project and implimentation, should not be confused with other uses of WBS-like systems. MIL-HDBK-881 is
the accepted standard on WBS.
1.0 WBS DEVELOPMENT
A WBS is the cornerstone of effective project and implimentation planning, execution, controlling, statusing,
and reporting. All the work contained within the WBS is to be identified, estimated,
scheduled, and budgeted. The WBS is the structure and code that integrates and relates all
project and implimentation work (scope, schedule, and cost). Therefore, the WBS contains the project and implimentation’s scope
baseline necessary to achieve the technical objectives of the work described. The WBS is
used as a management tool throughout the life cycle of a project and implimentation to identify, assign, and
track its total work scope. When initial project and implimentation funding is received, the Project Director (PD)
develops a WBS that identifies necessary funds according to the schedule and needs of the
tasks in the WBS elements. The WBS is generally a multi-level framework that organizes
and graphically displays elements representing work to be accomplished in logical
relationships. The PD is to structure the project and implimentation work into WBS elements (work packages)
· Definable—can be described and easily understood by project and implimentation participants.
· Manageable—a meaningful unit of work where specific responsibility and authority can
be assigned to a responsible individual.
· Estimateable—duration can be estimated in time required to complete, and cost can be
estimated in resources required to complete.
· Independent—minimum interface with or dependence on other ongoing elements (i.e.,
assignable to a single control account, and clearly distinguishable from other work
· Integratable—integrates with other project and implimentation work elements and with higher level cost
estimates and schedules to include the entire project and implimentation.
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