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

1.  Planning

  • 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.