One of the challenging tasks of any business project owner or manager is to create an actionable WBS for project management. It is one of the primary tools for managing any commercial project. Hence, WBS tools are truly helpful for project managers.
If you find creating a WBS template for the upcoming project challenging, you have come to the right spot! We are going to explain the WBS in project management in simple language. We will also introduce you to some highly trending and popular tools that top project managers use to create WBS sheets at work.
What Is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a table that identifies and lists project components and deliverables. A WBS in project management is a tool that gives project managers a clear view of what content/product/service the project needs to deliver to the client.
Essentially, you should create the WBS template as a hierarchy of components the project should produce. This structure also helps project managers to organize a project team’s tasks and duties into small chunks of goals.
Most WBS tools for business projects are more than 3-levels deeper. However, you could also find up to 2 to 4 levels deep hierarchy of deliverables and components in a small project’s WBS sheet.
What Are the Types of WBS?
#1. Deliverable-Based WBS
As the name suggests, this WBS sheet will mainly focus on the project deliverables. These could be a physical product, digital content, or an online service (website/mobile app.) It easily links the scope of the project with each deliverable. Project managers often use this WBS template to create project budgets, resource estimations, etc.
A true example would be a WBS sheet for car manufacturing. Interior, body, and electronics form the first items of the hierarchy. Then you can link the appropriate components that you need to manufacture for each of these heads.
#2. Process-Based WBS
This type of WBS tool will define your project relating to work phases, functions, and steps. You can easily assign different steps to different skills and disciplines. It helps to identify what kind of tools you need, skills requirements, etc.
An example of this kind will be a WBS draft for a mobile app development project. Here, phases of the app development like configuration, system tests, critical systems review, and user systems form the first level hierarchy. You can now link other phases to the appropriate headers.
What Makes WBS a Go-To Solution for Project Managers?
#1. It gives a top-level clarity of project tasks’ responsible resources. Hence, project managers can instantly reach out to the right team member if they need task statuses.
#2. You will never miss any project steps or deliverables when you deploy an effective WBS template.
#3. Since the WBS sheet highlights all the deliverables and phases visually, project managers can ensure on-time completion of each chunk of tasks/deliverables.
#4. WBS tool also helps you to fix bugs and errors in your project that are not easily identifiable at the beginning of the project.
Check out this ultimate list of top tools that help you create an effective work breakdown structure sheet:
Besides being a top-notch project management software, monday.com also provides you with a WBS template. With its help, project managers can seamlessly plan and control their projects. This template is not only free, but ready-to-use so you get a sample work breakdown schedule to get started right now.
Users can download this intuitive template to develop e personalized plan by adding action items and reorganizing the tasks based on the project prioritization matrix. With this template, the execution of the plan becomes an effortless process.
All you have to do is to assign each action item to the team members. It lets you track progress at every stage through various metrics. The template also comes with features, such as one-click new item adding, searching or filtering board, sharing, etc.
Lucidchart is an intelligent diagramming software that helps you drive innovation through diagramming and collaboration. Using its WBS creator, users can make a work breakdown structure for their projects in a few minutes. The tool comes with an intuitive interface and some robust features for customizing a WBS according to your project’s needs.
Users can start making the structure by dragging shapes on the canvas and inserting tasks into individual shapes. It also lets you define task ownership and differentiate between tasks and subtasks through its extensive formatting features.
Lucidchart offers real-time collaboration, in-editor chat, and mention commenting for immediate updates and sharing. This cloud-based tool can be accessed from anywhere and from any device. It also has conditional formatting that helps you with color-coding the tasks and organizing roles and other items of the structure.
With the WBS tool of Creately, you can manage the project deliverables in a better way. With its work breakdown structure software, project managers can visualize the scope of projects. On this easy-to-use visual platform, users can break down a project into more manageable milestones for easy work management.
Creately lets you add detailed documents, links, and attachments to each WBS deliverable. It also supports importing data from project management tools so users can identify gaps and overlaps in project requirements.
The WBS platform contains various built-in tools for creating dashboards, presentations, and reports for the stakeholders. Moreover, it supports multiple app integrations for exporting and importing project data.
This tool has been designed for true team collaboration. Now, cross-functional teams can stay aligned through real-time communication and collaboration. It contains features like multi-user collaboration, mention comments, workspace level status tracking, multiple access levels and roles, and smart notifications to connect everyone across the board.
Are you looking for a work breakdown structure software where you can get free and easy-to-customize templates? Go for EdrawMax to visualize your entire project scope by creating interactive WBS. By creating the structure on this tool, you can organize the objectives in a simple and predictable way.
Here, you can choose from multiple work breakdown structure templates that can be used directly. It also has a rich symbol library from which you can add useful symbols by dragging and dropping them on the canvas. For those who want to elaborate the diagram contents, EdrawMax allows importing and exporting additional data for customization.
Users can download the structure from this WBS tool in various formats, including PDF, DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, JPG, HTML, SVG, and PNG. Then, they can also share and upload these files to different platforms. It also supports embedding the diagram in emails, social media, and websites.
Using Praxie, you can excel in WBS project management in two ways. You can either use its interactive app to create a WBS from the scratch. Or, you can use its WBS template to customize it according to your needs.
To use the template, users need to review it and consider the tasks included in your project from a step-by-step viewpoint. Then, they need to list down all the subtasks and finish the table with the help of the necessary data. As the work progress, the team members need to update it so the project manager can have a clear idea about it.
Any team or company can get started with Praxie’s collaboration tools by defining tasks and creating Action Items. Its cloud-based software also includes features, such as progress dashboards, data import from different SaaS applications or documents, and an intuitive interface.
OpenProject offers you an open-source project management software that is, at the same time, robust and secure. This tool supports your end-to-end process of managing a project with the work breakdown structure.
In OpenProject tool, you can break down the whole project into manageable deliverables and activities with the help of its list view. Moreover, you can either create a task quickly with inline creation or use the full-screen view for tasks with detailed information. It also displays the task progress and spent time for better analysis of the project.
MatchWare MindView is a mind mapping tool with the ability to develop a work breakdown structure. This effective concept development software comes with 6 interchangeable views for creating a WBS. You can easily make the structure in the top-down or left-right layout.
If necessary, the data can be exported to a built-in Gantt chart in applications, such as MS Excel and MS Projects. MindView is an ideal tool for creating WBS charts as it lets you enter different elements in a flash and organize them into a structure that goes with your particular project. Also, the structure can be edited seamlessly if you need to make any changes to it.
JadeALM lets you create WBS charts for your projects so that you can have a clear project structure. Its hierarchical chart is perfect for breaking down the progress from the top to the bottom. You can easily view where every subtask and task belongs in the big picture of the project.
This structure also informs you what is happening and where. As users can divide the project into smaller subtasks simply and practically, they never lose the focus on the core value and objective. JadeALM also helps you with reorganization and predictability by managing dependencies between people, tasks, features, and processes.
Additionally, this WBS tool is highly useful for managing smaller deliverables. Its real-time updating allows you to track progress, resources, and assignees from one single tool with complete consistency, transparency, and uniformity.
Cacoo is an essential tool for teams that want to perform an organized and visual breakdown of the tasks and subtasks. It offers a sophisticated WBS template that users can customize as per the needs of individual projects.
Besides using it for a single project that contains multiple tasks being assigned to different people, you can also use it for larger projects that deal with multiple teams.
Even if you are a novice user, you would not take much time to learn how to run this tool. It offers a wide range of tutorials that includes dedicated and detailed guides and videos. You can also go through its blog and knowledge base to find out about the working of this tool.
Cacoo supports integration with various tools, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, AWS, Dropbox, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, OneDrive, MS Teams, Visio, and Zapier. This feature makes the task of project management easier for you.
A WBS diagram shows the project scope and its milestones. A Gantt chart helps to visualize the project activity timeline.
A Gantt chart is often considered a kind of WBS for project management. Users can organize their WBS as a Gantt chart that contains links between task dependencies and project milestones.
The Final Words
So far, you have found an in-depth discussion on the basics of WBS in project management. You have also discovered some top-tier tools that can help you draft a professional and error-free WBS template.
In a project manager’s professional career, the skill to draft a WBS tool sets them apart from the novice. Similarly, when you adopt the WBS template, you reduce bottlenecks, increase productivity, and eventually make more revenue than amateur businesses that do not use this tool.
You may also be interested in learning about team charters that facilitate effective collaboration in a team.