Why create a work breakdown structure?

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool that can be used for projects, programs, and even initiatives to understand the work that has to be done to successfully produce a deliverable(s).  The benefits of creating a WBS include:

  • it defines and organizes the work required
  • it facilitates the quick development of a schedule by allocating effort estimates to specific sections of the WBS
  • it can be used to identify potential scope risks if it has a branch that is not well defined
  • it provides a visual of entire scope
  • it can be used to identify communication points
  • it provides a visual of impacts when deliverables are falling behind
  • it can be used to show and assign accountabilities and responsibilities
  • it can show control points and milestones
  • it provides a way to estimates project costs
  • it ensures no important deliverables are forgotten
  • it can assist with resource allocation
  • it provides a proven and repeatable approach to planning projects
  • it provides a tool for team brainstorming and collaboration
  • it provides an opportunity to engage the team and make them feel invested in the planning