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Glossary

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is an important tool in project management that serves to present the structure and tasks of a project in a clear and systematic manner. It enables project participants to gain a better understanding of the complexity and scope of the project. By creating a WBS, the necessary resources, scheduling, and responsibilities can be clearly defined to ensure a successful project course. Thus, the WBS is an indispensable tool for planning, managing, and monitoring projects.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) - Detailed Explanation

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a graphical or tabular representation of the tasks and structure of a project. It helps to better understand the complexity of a project and to systematically plan individual work steps. The following details the various aspects and application areas of the WBS.

1. Purpose and Objective of the WBS

The WBS is used to present the tasks and structure of a project in a clear and systematic manner. It enables project participants to gain a better understanding of the complexity and scope of the project. By creating a WBS, the necessary resources, scheduling, and responsibilities can be clearly defined to ensure a successful project course. Thus, the WBS is an indispensable tool for planning, managing, and monitoring projects.

2. Composition and Structure of a WBS

A WBS consists of various levels and elements. At the highest level is the overall project, which is divided into subprojects or project phases. These, in turn, are broken down into work packages that contain specific tasks and activities. Work packages are typically designed so that they can be handled by an individual or a small group. The structure of a WBS can be hierarchical or matrix-like and is often represented as a tree diagram or network plan.

3. Creation of a WBS

The creation of a WBS usually follows several steps:

     
  1. Definition of the project and its objectives: First, the project and its goals must be clearly defined. From this, the requirements and conditions for the WBS can be derived.
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  3. Structuring the project: Next, the project is divided into subprojects or project phases. It is important to ensure that this subdivision is sensible, logical, and aligns with the project goals.
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  5. Creation of work packages: In the next step, work packages are defined that contain specific tasks and activities. These packages should be designed so that they can be processed by an individual or a small group.
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  7. Allocation of resources and responsibilities: For each work package, the necessary resources and responsibilities must be determined. The availability and qualifications of project staff should be taken into account.
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  9. Scheduling: Finally, a realistic schedule should be created for each work package, including buffer times for unforeseen events.

4. Advantages and Benefits of a WBS

A well-created WBS offers numerous advantages for project management:

     
  • It provides a clear and structured overview of the project and its tasks.
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  • It allows for better planning and control of resources and time.
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  • It supports communication and collaboration within the project team.
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  • It helps to identify risks and problems early on and to initiate appropriate countermeasures.
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  • It facilitates the monitoring and control of project progress.

5. Use of Software and Tools

There are numerous software tools and solutions for creating and managing a WBS. These range from simple graphics and spreadsheet programs to specialized project management software packages. The choice of the appropriate tool depends on the requirements and scope of the project. It is important that the software allows for an easy and efficient creation and editing of the WBS and meets the needs of project management.

Conclusion

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a central tool in project management that clearly and systematically presents the structure and tasks of a project. By creating a WBS, resources, scheduling, and responsibilities can be clearly defined to ensure a successful project course. Thus, the WBS is an indispensable tool for planning, managing, and monitoring projects.