What is Work Breakdown Structure

computer science


Based on the project and topic you chose in Week 1(see attached file) and the Charter you developed in Week 2(see attached file), develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the course-long project you will be working on for the remainder of this course.

Here are the elements I expect in the WBS:

  • Code by column (1, 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.)
  • Task name
  • Table borders for your WBS.
  • A decomposition of the project work to be done into definable and manageable parts – simplest “breakdown" of each piece of work to be completed.
  • Measurable: can it be measured and tracked?
  • Assignable: can it be assigned to one or more people to perform?
  • Work independent: is it separable enough to avoid confusion, accountability and measurement?

You will build on this next week when you submit your task plan, which will contain many more elements and will build to the Gantt Chart in Week 5.

Your WBS should follow the format used in the “WBS Example”(see attached file) and defined in the Week 3 Readings/Lectures.  Your WBS must have a minimum of 60 level 3 tasks (i.e. 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, etc.).  Summary level tasks do not count in the 60 min. Summary tasks are those which can be completed in just a minute or two. Tasks should require hours, if not days, to complete.

Between 80 and 90 tasks is our target and therefore ideal, while greater than 100 should be avoided for this assignment and your project.  

Tasks that take only minutes to do like "make a phone call" are too simple or too short to be considered a task for this project.  Therefore, they must be combined with others into one task to be considered a task.  A task like "hire a contractor' could be acceptable, if you mean that it includes things like "visit, evaluate and hire."  In this case, it would certainly take hours to complete versus just minutes to sign a contract.  If you are hiring a contractor to do the work for you, make sure that you do include a task for him/her to actually complete the work -- i.e. install the roof.

Your WBS must be presented in the proper format and also use the proper numbering system.

Tasks are the most basic building blocks of any project - tasks represent the work to be done to accomplish the goal and objectives of the project.  They are units of work to accomplish the Charter.  Remember, each level 2 or 3 task must be:

This WBS should include all of your tasks, deliverables, and phases needed to complete the project in proper sequence.

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