5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 5: Process 5.4 Create WBS

The WBS or work breakdown structure takes the scope as outlined in the project scope statement and breaks it down into more manageable components called deliverables.  It serves as a graphical illustration of the structure of the project and is thus useful as a communication tool for explaining the project to key stakeholders.

Here is a summary of the inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs of the process.

1. Scope Management Plan Tells how to create the WBS from the project scope statement and how the WBS will be maintained and approved.
2. Project Scope Statement Describes the work that is to be performed and the work that is excluded.
3. Requirements Documentation Essential for understanding what needs to be produced as a result of the project and what needs to be done to produce the final product
4. EEFs
  • Industry-specific WBS standards
5.. OPAs
  • Policies, procedures and templates for the WBS
  • Project files from previous projects
  • Lessons learned from previous projects
1. Decomposition Technique used for dividing and subdividing the project scope and project deliverables into smaller, more manageable parts.
2. Expert judgment Used to analyze the information needed to decompose the project deliverables down into smaller, more manageable parts.
1. Scope baseline Consists of three elements

  • Project scope statement
  • WBS
  • WBS dictionary
2. Product documents updates
  • Requirements documentation

It is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of the work, with the lowest level of the decomposition being work packages. The activities to create these work packages are done in the first process of the Time Management Knowledge Area, 6.1 Define Activities, and so process 5.4 Create WBS and 6.1 Define Activities are often profitably combined into one process.

The next process in the Scope Management knowledge area takes us to the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group with the process 5.4 Validate Scope. That is the subject of the next post.

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