For large business projects or in the case of highly technical company projects a Work Breakdown Structure can be very useful. There are a variety of ways you can create a work breakdown structure. A work breakdown structure is an effective way to manage your outsourcers. And managing your outsourcers will enable you to minimize mistakes and cost and time blowouts. All outsourcing projects are a combination of good planning and effective people management, which is what a work breakdown structure enables you to do.
There are three steps to creating your work breakdown structure. First is to brainstorm all the parts of the project. Secondly is to create a mind map or use a spreadsheet program to create a breakdown chart and finally is use a time management software and to update the WBS as needed.
There are a range of brainstorming software both free and priced that enable you to quickly create a brainstorm. However sometimes the most practical solution is using a paper and pen. A brainstorm is simply a visual representation of everything you think the project needs on paper with different areas for the different facets of the job, another area for the budget and time needed. A brainstorm can radiate from a central idea or just be a series of jotted points. In this first step you’re not trying to organize the information but just to get it down.
In the second step you can use a spreadsheet program to create your own breakdown chart, depending on what software you have readily available and your budget. If you have or can afford to buy a project management program, that would be all the better. An application like Microsoft Project is an excellent tool for this very purpose. With a breakdown chart you’re allocating jobs to particular steps and noting down the steps and how much time it should take.
Stay on top of your WBS, and keep it updated. If you fall behind, you’ll find that it’s terribly difficult to get caught up accurately. And, if your information is not accurate, you won’t be able to assess your project’s progress or to evaluate whether or not your timeline is being followed. On top of that, you won’t know when adjustments need to be made. So, clearly, keeping your WBS up-to-date is quite critical.
Keep copies of each WBS you create for each project. These previous WBSs can be excellent resources for when you are creating a new one. By reviewing past projects, you will be better equipped for making accurate estimates as new projects arise.