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WBS Training – What Are The Project Management Benefits?
By Vivian Kloosterman

Developing a work breakdown structure is not always easy. It can be demanding, and require a lot of time and effort. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. You may put off developing the WBS and then rush it through, so that it is over and done. Work breakdown structure training will give you the skills to approach work breakdown structures, even for complex projects, with confidence and ease.

The work breakdown structure forms the foundation for sound project management. Every major planning component of the project kicks off from the work breakdown structure. So, the ability to prepare a comprehensive WBS is an essential project management skill. Work breakdown structure training will help you stop procrastinating and allow you to develop work breakdown structures with certainty. Some of the benefits of work breakdown structure training are that you can:

  • Produce a WBS that is complete and accurate. By adopting methods to make sure that all important work is included, you minimise risk and increase the likelihood that your project will be successful.
  • Accurately subdivide the project into smaller work packages. This has dual benefits of making tasks easier for project members to manage and allowing key milestones to be identified.

  • Use the most beneficial layout depending on whether you are developing, communicating or presenting your WBS. Knowing how to engage your team and clients by communicating your WBS effectively, sets you on the path to achieving project goals.

Engage project members in developing the WBS. Involving project teams and expert resources in creating the detailed steps of the WBS encourages discussions that: 1) clarify uncertainties and ambiguities, 2) identify assumptions-both correct and incorrect, 3) narrow and define the project scope, and 4) raise key issues early on. Encouraging high levels of participation to prepare the WBS produces well-defined tasks, enables resources to be allocated to specific tasks, and creates accountability and commitment among the project team.

Because the WBS is the foundation for other crucial project planning processes, this results in a number of flow-on project management benefits:

  • The WBS is an essential tool to define the project scope. It clearly defines what is included, and what is not included, in your project scope and deliverables. Establishing this early on is very helpful in client interactions. It prevents misunderstandings and results in much happier clients.
  • The WBS lays the ground work for accurate project costing. A detailed WBS helps carry out bottom-up project costing and estimating. And bottom-up estimating is the most accurate method. Poor estimating, especially if it leads to cost overruns, causes conflict with clients. A well-defined WBS, which helps to create correct estimates, again leads to satisfied clients.

  • An accurate Project Schedule can only be developed after a comprehensive WBS, which includes all tasks, is generated. Accurate scheduling increases the probability that your project will be completed on time and meet client delivery dates.

  • A well-defined WBS increases the likelihood that your project will meet its goals. Because there is less chance that key work will be omitted, this ensures adequate resources will be on hand to complete project tasks and meet project outcomes.

  • The WBS can be used to manage outsourced service providers as well as internal project team members.

  • An effective WBS means project tasks can be delegated and managed. Because the work is properly defined, it can be scheduled, costed, implemented, monitored and controlled. This allows you to measure progress and ensures that your projects will be delivered on time, on budget and on scope.

Work breakdown structure training helps project managers and project team members develop the skills and techniques to prepare work breakdown structures with confidence. Project team members understand how to work together to create detailed work breakdown structures that they are accountable for and committed to. This significantly increases the probability that projects will be successfully planned and delivered, which in turn leads to happier clients, and more relaxed and productive team members.

Vivian Kloosterman is the founder of Continuing Professional Development with over 30 years of professional experience in the fields of business leadership, governance, project, risk and resource management and professional engineering. Continuing Professional Development offers online training courses on Stakeholder Identification and Analysis to help you engage effectively with stakeholders. The course includes a Stakeholder Analysis template so you can easily carry out Stakeholder mapping and then stakeholders automatically plot on the Influence/Interest matrix. A scenario based case study followed by an online discussion forum allows you to apply your learning and discuss your stakeholder analysis with your online colleagues. To find out more about how our online courses provide essential skills to advance your career and add to the intellectual wealth of individuals and organizations go to www.continuingprofessionaldevelopment.org.

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