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Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): Top-down or Bottom-up?

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): Top-down or Bottom-up?
By Samuel Prasad

Project Managers are always talking about Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). What is WBS and why is it needed? Simply put it is a hierarchical depiction of all tasks that must be done to complete a project. The tasks at the lowest hierarchical level define unit(s) of work that can be unambiguously defined and whose time, cost and resource requirements can be accurately computed.

There are essentially two ways to create a Work Breakdown Structure – the top-down or the bottom-up approach.

  • The top-down approach, in my opinion, generates a complete and more accurate WBS. In this approach, the WBS is derived by decomposing the overall project into sub-projects or lower-level tasks. This decomposition is based on general project characteristics and not on detailed design elements. The decomposition continues until the tasks or work units reach a level where they can be accurately defined and estimated.
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Know the ROI of Your Project Before You Start

Know the ROI of Your Project Before You Start
By Samuel Prasad

ROI – Return on Investment – is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. In other words, ROI helps in determining the extent of cost savings that are realized in return for use of a specific amount of money on a project. The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) states that the project charter – a document that formally authorizes a project – must clearly state the business justification for the project including return on investment. In many companies the CFO or COO requires ROI to be presented before funding is approved for a project. The task of calculating ROI is not always easy because the cost savings of implementing a project cannot always be quantified in dollars. In many cases the benefits are intangible and non-financial as in providing a competitive advantage in the marketplace or delivering superior customer service. Read the Complete Article

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