Work Breakdown Structure Template
Visualize the scope of work needed to complete a project.
Complex projects can be difficult to plan for. Use the Work Breakdown Structure template to easily decompose the total scope of work for a project, including specific deliverables and activities. This helps with estimating resources and costs, creating a phased schedule of tasks, and managing each phase.
About the Work Breakdown Structure template
What is a Work Breakdown Structure?
Before starting a big project with many steps, it often helps to create a Work Breakdown Structure. The Work Breakdown Structure lays out everything a project must accomplish, organizes those tasks into multiple levels, and displays these elements graphically. It’s a deliverable-based approach, meaning you’ll end up with a detailed picture of the deliverables you must create to finish the job.
Why create a Work Breakdown Structure?
Create a Work Breakdown Structure when you need to deconstruct your team's work into smaller, well-defined elements to make it more manageable. This makes it easier for a project manager to oversee a complex project and make sure every task gets done.
What are the 4 elements of a Work Breakdown Structure?
1. Hierarchy. Each Work Breakdown Structure is hierarchical. That means every “child” on the graph has a hierarchical relationship with its parent task. When you add up all the “child” elements, it’ll give you a clear picture of the parent task.
2. 100% rule. While every Work Breakdown Structure is a little different, they all follow the 100% rule. Every level of the graph must make up 100% of the parent level, and it must have at least two “child” elements.
3. Mutually exclusive elements. Every element at each level of a Work Breakdown Structure has to be mutually exclusive. That means there can’t be any overlap between deliverables or work. Enforcing mutual exclusivity helps cut down on miscommunication and avoid duplicate work.
4. Outcome-oriented. The Work Breakdown Structure is fundamentally a deliverable-oriented system. That means you graphic depiction must focus on the outcomes rather than the activities required to produce them. A good rule of thumb is to describe elements using nouns rather than verbs.
How do you create a Work Breakdown Structure?
First, scope the entire project and make sure you understand the goals and objectives. Next, catalog all of the major high-level deliverables of the project. These will be the second tier of the structure. Finally, break those high-level deliverables into smaller pieces for a third level of activities that need to be done to complete the project.
Easy to use
Save time by using our pre-made Work Breakdown Structure template instead of creating your own from scratch. Get started by signing up for free to update it with your own information.
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