WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure, and it consists of an outline or graphical representation of the work required to accomplish project deliverables. Creating a WBS is a valuable exercise that is well worth the time invested – it is often the first opportunity for a project team to think through the various work activities and deliverables that will deliver a successful project. A well thought out WBS is the foundation of a controllable project.
Completing a WBS is straightforward, provided that the individual(s) creating it know how the project deliverables will be achieved. Here is a simple WBS example for upgrading an air conditioning system in a community clubhouse -
Work Breakdown Structure – Clubhouse HVAC Upgrade
- Solicit input from Board members and community members with past experience upgrading HVAC systems
- Plan the major phases of the project and establish a schedule
2. Define Requirements and Identify Potential Contractors
- Bring in engineer to perform load analysis on building, review current equipment, and create the technical requirements.
- Complete a Request for Proposal (RFP) based on the engineer’s recommendations
- Solicit residents for HVAC contractors to consider and avoid
3. Receive and Review Contractor Proposals
- Finalize contractor list (3 contractors) and send RFP document
- Plan a day and time for contractor visits
- Receive and review proposals
- Select the contractor
- Obtain Board approval
4. Finalize Terms and Commence Work
- Finalize contract (including warranty) and payment terms with contractor
- Block clubhouse calendar for planned work days
- Monitor work as it progress
5. Project Approval and Contractor Payment
- Bring in engineer for final inspection
- Follow through on corrections with contractor as necessary
- Pay contractor
A well thought out WBS is considered a vital element in any project, and is easy to construct with the right team members present.