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121 Module 5: The Work Breakdown Structure

The work breakdown structure, the backbone of your project, is a hierarchy that starts at the peak with the scope. Then you break down, or decompose, the scope into major and supporting deliverables. You stop decomposing the scope when you reach the level of an assignment that is the right size for a crew, sub or an individual. So the decomposition effort results in a work breakdown structure (WBS) with all the tasks that must be completed during the life of the project.

What Happens If I Don’t Do the Work Breakdown Structure Correctly?

Construction project managers often make mistakes when building the work breakdown structure. One of the mistakes is trying to list every small task that has to be done in the project. Trying to manage those small tasks doesn’t ever work because you can’t stay on top of all the changes crews and subs make. The other mistake is having work breakdown structure entries that are just activities. Every entry in the work breakdown structure should be a deliverable with clear, measurable acceptance criteria. That tells the crew or sub what you expect (what a good job is) before they start work. If they have to guess about what’s expected of them, they will waste a lot of time and money.

There are 3 videos below.

1. Work Breakdown Structure Lecture Video

 

2. Microsoft Project® Software Video – Watch this lecture if your version of Project is 2010 or newer

(all versions older than 2010, skip this video and go to #3)

 

3.Microsoft Project® Software Video – Watch this lecture if your version of Project is older than 2010

 

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