6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.4 Create WBS: Outputs

Here’s a trick question:   what is the output of the “Create WBS” (Work Breakdown Structure) process?   If you answer “the WBS” on the exam, you will get it wrong.   The correct answer technically is “the scope baseline”, but that is only because the result of the “Create WBS” is both the “WBS” and the “WBS Dictionary.”   These two components, plus the Project Scope Statement, which is the output of the last process 5.3 Define Scope, all are included in what is called “the scope baseline.”    So please remember that the scope baseline is not one document, but three separate documents combined!

Okay, let’s discuss the outputs to the proces 5.4 “Create WBS”.

5.4.3 Create WBS:  Outputs  Scope Baseline

Remember my analogy from a previous post:   the scope is like a series of blueprints for a building under construction that contain several layers of detail:

  • the requirements, analogous to the structural elements of a building  like the scaffolding of the building and its foundation,
  • the major deliverables, analogous to the walls, ceiling and floors that connect the structural elements and give the building a shape,
  • and the WBS which gives the minor deliverables all the way down to the work package elements, analogous to the furnishings, etc. that will go into the individual rooms.

The scope baseline includes the:

  • Project scope statement–this contains a description of the project scope, the major deliverables, plus the assumptions and constraints that put a boundary around the scope (the analogous to the second level of detail of the scope listed above).
  • WBS–this contains a breakdown of the total scope of work (the third level of detail of the scope listed above) into work packages that needs to be carried out in order to create the deliverables (the second level listed above) that fulfill, in turn, the requirements (the top level listed above) of the project.    As mentioned in the last post on how to create the WBS, there may be some control accounts included in the WBS which are used to help keep track of a group of related work packages for the purpose of measuring the performance of that part of the project.
  • WBS dictionary–for each element of the WBS dictionary, which describes the work that needs to be done, consider the WBS dictionary the “flip side” of that work package which contains information on the costs, schedule, resources and other information needed to do that work.  Project Documents Updates

Both the assumption log (output of process 4.1 Develop Project Charter) and the requirements documentation (output of process 5.2 Collect Requirements) may be updated with items created or elaborated upon as a result of the Create WBS process.

Now that the scope is complete, it needs to go to the planning process of the next knowledge are, that of schedule management, in order to be implemented.   Now the scope is like a list of ingredients for a recipe, but a true recipe requires something else equally as important, if not more so:   the list of instructions on how to put it together!   That is where the process of creating the project schedule comes in, and that will be covered in the next series of posts on Schedule Management.

In the meanwhile, the next few posts will go on to cover the two processes in the next phase of processes for Scope Management, namely, 5.5 Validate Scope and 5.6 Control Scope.   The next post will take up the inputs to the first of these two processes, 5.5 Validate Scope.


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