What is a Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management Management?

A work breakdown structure (WBS), is a standard in traditional project management and systems engineering. It breaks down a project into a hierarchy with deliverables and tasks. It is a simple but effective way to organize and understand your project scope in smaller, more manageable pieces.
A work breakdown structure allows you to take a top-down view of your project and then break it down into the tasks and subtasks that will lead you to completion. It is a useful tool that helps you to determine the cost and time estimates and gives guidance for scheduling and control.
Why use a work breakdown structure
It’s clear that project estimates can be complicated and confusing. However, you don’t have to be heartbroken when creating a project estimate. It can be helpful to ask questions, analyze needs, and break down your scope into smaller chunks.
A work breakdown structure is a way to get specific about the work required for any project. A work breakdown structure can help you quickly understand if your estimate will go over the budget or by when it will be due.
How to create a work breakdown structure for estimating projects
Once you feel comfortable with the process of creating a work break down structure, you will be able adapt it to any project. This could include moving your house or building a complex database that includes 75 offshore teams. The work breakdown structure is your friend.
Before you start creating a WBS and other estimates, let’s go over a process that will ensure a solid, usable estimate.
Step 1: List your project’s high-level deliverables
It should be easy to get started on your work breakdown structure if you have a project scope.
Are you unsure of the scope? Talk to your boss or clients about the scope. It is dangerous to start a project without a scope. It sets the stage for what will happen and when.
Begin by sitting down with your team and identifying the deliverables you will need to achieve your project’s goals. If you are building a website, your deliverables could include:
Page designs
Front-end code
Back-end code
Make sure you include all tasks so that you don’t forget anything. Have you considered content when you are working on a website design project? You’ll regret it later if you miss a deliverable.
It’s why it is so useful to list things out as a group. A team conversation ensures that all bases are covered. It helps you establish expectations about who will be responsible to deliverables and tasks. It also engages the team in the overall project process. You’re already winning!
Step 2: Divide each deliverable into tasks
Once you have identified the top-level deliverables of your project, it is time to look at what each deliverable actually requires.
This is not a simple exercise in which you ask “Who will do this?” and “How long will it take?” It goes deeper than that, and that’s a good thing. That’s how you can create a better estimate.
Ask your team (or yourself!) questions as you dive into each high-level deliverable.
What is the best way to make this deliverable?
What other tasks are necessary to complete this deliverable successfully?
What are the requirements for the job?
Are there any corners being cut? (List everything and everyone, don’t cheat yourself!
When you do this exercise, remember that you want to include every task that could be part of a high-level deliverable. Remember that the goal is to account for all time in order to create a reasonable estimate. If you don’t think it, you won’t be capable of doing that.