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Project Planning Process – The WBS (#5 in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management)
By Manjeet Singh

To begin the project planning process, start working on the WBS, which is an effective tool that helps you list all the tasks involved in your project. The WBS allows you to group all the tasks under main activities ensuring that you have a clear overview of what you need to execute during the project.

A good way of developing your project’s WBS is by using the major milestones/deliverables that you identified in your SOW. Once the milestones have been identified, brainstorm with your project team to detail the tasks that you must accomplish in order to achieve the milestones. If you and your team are familiar with the project, a milestone approach will work very well. If this is not the case, then consider including in your workshops someone who may not be on your project team but has previously completed a similar project.

Here is a simplified WBS for the design of a website:
A Simplified Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A Simplified Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
For more complex projects with a higher level of detail, you can choose the following format for your WBS:

  • 1.0 Website Project
  • 2.0 Design
    • 2.1 Select layout
    • 2.2 Design graphics
    • 2.3 Approve design
  • 3.0 Content
    • 3.1 Select contributors
    • 3.2 Write contents
    • 3.3 Approve contents
    • 3.4 Insert content into pages
  • 4.0 Development
    • 4.1 Setup website on test environment
    • 4.2 Perform tests
    • 4.3 Approve tests
    • 4.4 Setup website on live environment

TIP: Careful with the level of detail in your WBS – 3 levels is good; 5 the limit, and 7 becomes unwieldy.

Next in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management:

Project Planning Process – Network Diagrams

Previously in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management:

Project Planning Process – Introduction

Manjeet Singh has over 17 years of experience acquired in a wide variety of industries with a focus on project and program management at Software Makers and Global IT Services companies throughout the world. Manjeet has an Executive MBA from the HEC Management School, and is the author of the website that provides a free guide to project management, and offers other project management-related resources.

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