WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) in MS PROJECT 2010



According to PMI (PMBOK 4th edition), WBS or Work Breakdown Structure is: “deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables, which each descending level of the WBS representing an increasingly detailed definition of the project work”. In addition: “the WBS organizes and defines the total scope of the project, and represents the work specified in the current approved project scope statement!”

Here is an example of the WBS:


Be aware of this: WBS DOES NOT SHOW DEPENDENCIES. What does it mean? It means, that you can read from WBS what muse be done, but you can not read, how long will your Project lasts! For that you must have activity diagram. WBS I logical Hierarchy!

From example, in my previous picture the schedule is not like:

  1. Schedule Flights to Mpls
  2. Rent Van
  3. Arrange Motel
  4. Schedule Return flights
  5. Contract BW outfitter
  6. etc

How will you measure your schedule progress. With SCOPE BASELINE! SCOPE BASELINE =  Project Scope statement + WBS + WBS Dictionary.

What is WBS DICTIONARY? Let suppose that you have a Deliverable called: “Return flights Scheduled”. What do you have to do for this. For example, first you should go to the internet and find your flights, and see if they fits your expectations (departure date, etc). Next you should see if there is enough tickets to your trip (what if there is only one ticket available? This is WBS Dictionary, and it is brief explanation of what should be done to achieve deliverable.

Hierarchy of WBS can be simple or complex, and it depends of your Project. The last in each branch is WORK PACKAGE or Deliverable! Now, what is deliverable! It is something you deliver Smile. It has to be measurable. If it is not measurable, how can you achieve approve from your Customer, or Client! What is deliverable from Rent Van Work package. Well, the contract between you and Rent a Van company, and keys of the Van in your hand!

WBS is foundation of a good schedule! If you want learn how to build excellent schedule I strongly recommend book from Eric Uyttewaal: FORECAST SCHEDULING WITH MICROSOFT PROJECT 2010. You can find it here: http://www.projectprocorp.com/products.php. Buy it, you wouldn’t regret it!

How to make a good WBS in MICROSOFT PROJECT 2010? Here is an example! Please do not look is it make a sense to have those Tasks in this order. It is for example purpose! So it can be silly, but don’t bother with it.


You can see that I have two branches in my WBS: The Requirements document, and Make a good Plan. But the Task Divide requirements to the tasks has predecessor from task 8, and task 11 as well. And Find a resources you will need for the Project is started as soon as Write an initial requirement document is finished!

But where is WBS Dictionary? You can double-click on the task and put the WBS dictionary in Notes:


WBS has to be structured. So every Task and  Summary Task must have unique number, according to WBS. I will add WBS code to my Gantt Chart:


I will choose WBS:


and I will get:


But what if you want to have a WBS (or WBS CODE) instead of 1.1 –> ERP-1/A


and I will get:


and finally:


You can get your WBS in Visio 2010 very easy.

Read my next Post!




About Nenad Trajkovski

Location: Zagreb, Croatia Occupation: Project Manager Interests: Project Management and MS PROJECT He was born in Zagreb, Croatia at 1963. After completing his college he started working on projects in different business areas (banking, manufacturing, automotive industry, distribution, oil companies, etc.) developing and implementing ERP systems into different companies. He has got a lot of experience working with people in different business processes and also possesses great knowledge in information technologies and financial services. Today he works as a business consultant, adn Project Manager in PERPETUUM MOBILE d.o.o. Zagreb. He is a regular lecturer for Project Management in MS Innovation Center in Varaždin, Logosoft Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and SEAVUS GROUP in Skopje Macedonia. He was named the best lecturer of WINDAYS 2008 while his lecture was also voted as the best. In addition, he was in TOP 10 lecturers at the MS SINERGY 2009 and MS VISIA 2009, 2010. Shares first place as the best lecturer of KulenDays 2009 and 2010 and PMI Conference 2009 in Zagreb. He is also a regular lecturer in the MS Community. He is a Certified Accountant and a PMP (Project Manager Professional) and a PMI-RMP (Risk Manager Professional), MCP, MCT, and Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist - Microsoft Project 2010. From 01.01.2012 awarded with MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Proffesional - Microsoft Project)!
This entry was posted in MICROSOFT PROJECT, Microsoft PRoject 2010, MS PROJECT 2010, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) in MS PROJECT 2010

  1. Engdaw says:

    How to enter WBS codes or numbers manually/

  2. Nuwan says:

    How to generate WBS by using Visio..Plzz help me

    • Nenad Trajkovski says:


  3. Rajesh says:

    please help me I am working on offshore projects where we work on 12hrs shift I am not able to create a calendar for a day shift and night shift

    • Nenad Trajkovski says:

      WHat do you realy need? Every Resource is working on different shift (for example, John-Day Shift, Mary – Night Shift, etc)
      Is that what you need?


  4. naghmeh says:


    I have a question about “work package”. Is work package the same as “activity” or “activity” is more detailed than a work package?

    Thank you

  5. kataleyastrong.Wordpress.com says:

    Excellent weblog here! Also your site rather a lot up fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your associate link in your host?
    I want my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  6. Kavita says:

    How the WBS and the sub task created under a master task is different? (I see I can only give some unique number to the WBS task)

  7. neelab says:

    its great and helpful thanks..

  8. sterling gardiner says:

    Thanks. Very good help.

  9. Ward Byttebier says:

    Hi Nendad.

    First thank you for your help on my previous post on resources. this was what I needed.
    Now a question on WBS codes.
    This is what I have:
    I have some unrelated projects, each of them are a seperate mpp file. All these projects have to be done in 2012, so I would like to give an overview of the complete project status for 2012.
    I do this by making a new mpp file and insert all of the projects as sub projects.
    Now the strange things happen. when I look at the WBS codes then I see duplicates which do not reflect the ‘indent’ level on the task name field.
    Also if I make a visual report in visio (Task status report) then it looks as if one project is being handled as a ‘child’ of another one on the same level. I would like to see a report with the ‘Total’ on top and from there branches to the sub projects summary task name, from every sub project again branches to the different taks in the project and so on.

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