Creating a matching WBS is one of the most important tasks in project management. It defines the project structure and the way we monitor our progress.

The good news: in many situations you are not starting from scratch. There are older projects available for best practice, there is a line organization and specific know how. So the first step is to understand how people are currently organized.


If you don’t see serious flaws you might not want to change this. People’s thinking patterns and communication networks follow these established lines. If you break it up, you will face overhead and unsettling, reducing productivity. On the other hand changing this might be a convenient way to break those patterns if they are likely to prevent your project’s success.
Up next would be to understand their work:
(people like to talk about their job – just listen and take notes)
  • what are their deliverables
  • who is their customer
  • what do they need in order to create them
  • what are their sources 
  • what are the major steps
  • what are the dependencies for each step (internal and external)
  • what are the typical timeframes for each step
  • what are the KPIs
  • what are potential challenges, risks and chances

It is important to have a clear understanding vice versa. If you don’t your WBS might not work during project execution. Take notes, create a summary and let them check for errors. An Excel table, a row for each step, might be sufficient. A process diagram with attached information might be a great help, especially when interfaces are not well defined between parties:

With this big picture in mind creating a WBS becomes an easier task. By selecting just key items and key dependencies a simplified WBS emerges:



Copyright notice:
All content of this web page is copyright © 2022 by Karsten Krueger, Kaufbeuren – All Rights Reserved. Any reuse in printed or digital form requires prior written approval by the owner. This specifically prohibits the embedding of this content into iframes or similar technical approaches. Please contact the author thru our contact page if you intent to reuse content from this page. Thank you for your understanding.