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Organization Breakdown Structure – OBS (#9 in the series How to Plan and Organize a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

Like the WBS, the OBS is a hierarchical diagram. It typically depicts the overall organization of the project members, usually with the project manager at the top, the team leaders at Level 2, and the individual team members below Level 2. Staff members may also be included.

Organization Breakdown Structure - OBS

Organization Breakdown Structure – OBS

The OBS shows clear lines of responsibility and reporting within the project. As a rule of thumb, there should be no more than about six people reporting directly to the project manager.

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. He is principal of Systems Management Services, and has conducted project management training at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in their PPM Certificate program for over 13 years, and at companies such as Sun Microsystems, GTE, Siemens, TRW, Loral, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Inprise. He also taught courses in the UCSC Extension Leadership and Management Program (LAMP), and was a guest speaker at the 2001 Santa Cruz Technology Symposium. His website is www.projectmgt.com.

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