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A Practical Perspective of WBS via PMP and MS Project 2007 – Part II (#2 in the series A Practical Perspective of WBS via PMP and MS Project 2007)
By Satya Narayan Dash

In this part, we will see how we will implement our understanding on WBS from PMBOK/PMP using MS Project. There are differences between terms and terminologies between MS Project 2007(MSP) and the PMBOK. However, the concept remains the same.

A Comparative Perspective between PMBOK and MS Project

1. Project (PMBOK) Vs Project Summary Task (MSP)

“Project” is at the highest level when a WBS is created in the “Create WBS” KAP of Scope Management KA, which can be further broken down into phases, deliverables or phases. It is considered to be at Level-0 in the WBS.

Similarly in MSP, it is known as “Project Summary Task” and it can be viewed by selecting the “Show Project Summary Task” in the View tab of Tools -> Options menu.

2. Work Package/Deliverables/Phases (PMBOK) Vs Summary Task (MSP)

In MS Project 2007, a Summary Task can also be broken down to individual task levels. The entire duration for the summary task is calculated from individual tasks underneath it.

While comparing Summary Task with the elements in the WBS, Summary Task can loosely refer to Phases or Deliverables or Work Packages, as each Phase can be broken down to Deliverables, a Deliverable to Work Packages and so on.

Work Package is created in the “Create WBS” KAP of Scope Management KA. As per PMBOK, it represents the lowest level in the WBS and can be assigned to multiple people and normally can be broken down to “Activity” level. A “Work Package” in PMBOK corresponds to “Summary Task” in MSP. Similarly, in the WBS, the highest level represents the Project itself. In MSP, it is known as the “Project Summary Task”.

3. Duration (Both in PMBOK and MSP)

In MSP, duration is calculated as Duration = Finish Date – Start Date + 1. Similarly, the duration in PMBOK is the same. However, it comes with as variants as:

Duration = Early Finish – Early Start + 1 OR
Duration = Late Finish – Late Start + 1


Armed with the above information, let us have a sample project, which has 2 work packages, each work package having five activities or tasks and two milestones. Though, we can divide it into multiple phases, deliverables etc., we will have a simple structure.

Our sample WBS for the aforementioned work packages will look as below.

A WBS Example

A WBS Example

A WBS Example Using MS Project 2007

We will take Phase – 2 with Deliverable – 2 and all the work packages for this deliverables. After putting certain sample data in the MS Project 2007, it will look like as follows:

WBS in MS Project

A WBS Example in MS Project (click to enlarge)

Understanding the WBS in the MS Project Plan (as shown above):

  • The complete Project, i.e., “MyProject” is the Project Summary Task which is shown in the beginning of the hierarchy.
  • The Phases/Deliverables/Work Packages which corresponds to Summary Tasks are shown, such as Phase – 2, Deliverable – 3, Work Package – 2.2.3.
  • The Milestones are of 0 duration (days) and they are represented as filled up diamonds. Note that milestones need not be of zero duration. Though a milestone is not needed while creating a WBS, it is a good idea to have.
  • WBS Codes: The codes which are appended for each work package and activity are known as WBS Codes. Here the WBS codes are auto generated by MS Project. However, you can have your own customized WBS codes, which are used in large scale enterprise project. Like it can be:
    , from where individual branching will happen for each of the phases, deliverables, work packages etc.

Satya Narayan Dash is the Principal Consultant and Founder of Teleox® Consulting, Bangalore, India. He has rich experience of 8+ years in product development, and architecture in Java® and J2EE® based Telecom solutions. As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) from Project Management Institute (PMI®) and MS Project 2007®, he has trained hundreds of project managers and consultants. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India. He can be contacted at email:

Teleox® offers training on PMP®, MS Project 2007®, Java®, J2EE®, SCJP®, and SCEA® programs designed with copyrighted methodologies from Teleox® with strong emphasis on case studies and real time use. Teleox® also independently bids software projects on Java/J2EE based Telecom solutions in Network Management area. For more details, please visit:

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