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10 Introduction to the Structure of a WBS A Work Breakdown Structure or Work Element Pyramid is a results-oriented family tree that captures all the work of a project in an organized way It is often portrayed graphically as a hierarchical tree however outlined it should organize and define the scope of the project It can also be a tabular list of elements categories and tasks or the indented task list that appears in your Gantt chart schedule Listed below is a very simple illustration of a WBS tree of a sample project WBS Tree 10 Level 1 Total Job 11 12 13 Level 2 Major Subdivision 111 112 113 Level 3 Minor Subdivisions 1111 1112 1113 Level 4 Tasks 11111 11112 11113 Level 5 Subtasks The WBS chart listed above is an example but not inclusive Large complex projects are organized and comprehended by breaking them into progressively smaller pieces until they are a collection of defined work packages that may include a number of tasks A 1000000000 project is simply several 50000 projects joined together The Work Breakdown Structure WBS is used to provide the framework for organizing and managing the work and most importantly tying resources to jobs and tracking the performance of the efforts In planning a project it is normal to become overwhelmed and confused as one begins to grasp the details and scope of even a modest size project This is a common result when trying to understand the details of work that will be performed by a number of people over a period of time The best way to break through the confusion is to break the project into smaller pieces tasks and subtasks and organize the pieces
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