Work Breakdown Structure

Work Breakdown Structure

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Within reason, is there such a thing as a project that is too complex to complete? Consider the Space Shuttle. One of the most complex machines ever built, the Space Shuttle had over 2.5 million parts, each of which had to be accounted for by someone. How did anyone manage to track and properly assemble these parts? The answer is through the application of a work breakdown structure (WBS). A WBS is a fundamental tool that project managers use to organize and divide the work of a project. A WBS focuses on breaking down a project’s scope into individual deliverables that may be created by assigned team members.
 
There are multiple work breakdown structure formats and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Project managers select a type of WBS based upon the specifics of the project they are managing. Each WBS format emphasizes different aspects of a project. These varied perspectives may each be appropriate, depending upon what information a project manager needs.
 
In this Discussion, you analyze different WBS formats and evaluate whether they meet basic criteria for clarity.
 
To prepare:
 

  • Explore the Work Breakdown Structure Formats document included in this week’s Learning Resources. The document presents a scenario and three corresponding WBS formats that pertain to the scenario. (SEE ATTACHED PDF FILE)
  • Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each WBS format included in the document.
  • Think about the level of detail dedicated to task information in each WBS format. Evaluate the formats based on the following criteria for clarity:

 
 
 

    • The task has a measurable status or completion.
    • The task has defined start and end events.
    • The task has a deliverable.
    • The task’s time and cost are easily estimated.
    • The task can be completed without interruption and additional input after its start.

 
 
 
Post  by tomorrow 10/04/16 a minimum of 550 words essay in APA format with 3 references. Based on the Work Breakdown Structure Formats document attached in the file area, address the level one headings as numbered below:
 
1) An analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each work breakdown structure format.
 
2) Provide an analysis of whether (and how) the work breakdown structures meet the assigned criteria for clarity.
 
3) Provide a rationale for your response.
 
 
 
 
 
Required Readings
 
 
 
 
 
Biafore, B. (2010). Microsoft Project 2010: The missing manual. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.
 

  • Chapter 4, “Breaking Work Into Task-Sized Chunks” (pp. 77–100)
    This chapter explains how to create a work breakdown structure and how to import a work breakdown structure into Microsoft Project.
     
    Coplan, S., & Masuda, D. (2011). Project management for healthcare information technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

 

  • Chapter 3, “Project Management”
    • “Prepare Work Breakdown Structure and WBS Dictionary” (pp. 53–56)
       
      This section of Chapter 3 reviews the core processes of preparing a work breakdown structure (WBS). The chapter provides an example of a WBS and details its essential components.
       
      Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide) (5th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Author.

 

  • Chapter 5, “Project Scope Management”
    • 5.3, “Create WBS” (pp. 125–132)
      This section of Chapter 5 reviews the process of creating a work breakdown structure. Specifically, the chapter examines how to determine inputs, WBS tools and techniques, and outputs.
       
      Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying & managing project risk: Essential tools for failure-proofing your project(2nd ed., Ebrary version). New York, NY: AMACOM.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

 

  • Chapter 3, “Identifying Project Scope Risk” (pp. 40–69)
    This chapter examines methods of identifying scope risks and the types of scope risks pertaining to project deliverables. The chapter highlights a variety of sources of scope risk as well.
     
    Shirey, M. R. (2008). Project management tools for leaders and entrepreneurs. Clinical Nurse Specialist22(3), 129–131.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
     
    The author of this article introduces project management tools that clinical nurse specialists may use to coordinate team work. The article highlights the usage of one such tool, the Gantt chart.
     
    Thomas, M., Jacques, P. H., Adams, J. R., & Kihneman-Wooten, J. (2008). Developing an effective project: Planning and team building combined. Project Management Journal39(4), 105–113.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    This article analyzes project planning and control and the process of developing a project plan. The article also reports the results of research that sought to determine 137 organizations’ approaches to establishing projects.
     
    U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2009, March 2). Work breakdown structure. GAO Reports, 65–78. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    This article examines the importance of a work breakdown structure (WBS) in project management. The chapter demonstrates how a WBS assists in resource identification, cost estimation, and risk determination.
     
    Wu, Z., Schmidt, L. P., & Wigstrom, M. S. (2010). Product development workflow management based on work breakdown structure. IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings, 1–5.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    The authors of this article highlight the usage of WBS in managing complex product development projects. The authors examine how a WBS helps represent and manage the intricacies of tasks and activity relationships.
     
    Mathis, M. (n.d.). Work breakdown structure: Purpose, process and pitfalls. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/work-breakdown-structure-purpose-process-pitfalls.html
    This article provides a general review of the WBS. The author focuses on the purpose, process, and pitfalls of a WBS.
     
    Document: Work Breakdown Structure Formats (PDF) (See ATTACHED PDF IN FILE AREA)
    This document presents a scenario and three corresponding work breakdown structures that you will use for your Discussion this week.
     
    Required Media
    Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Planning, part I: Defining project scope and activities [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu 
     
    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.
    In this presentation, the participants discuss defining project scope and project activities, using the work breakdown structure, and managing project risk through SWOT analysis.

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