Work Breakdown Structure Template

A work breakdown structure template helps to break down tasks just by putting the data into a premade template. The template itself schedules and makes Gantt charts and evaluates everything against the scope, cost, time baseline, etc.

A common productivity technique of breaking down the work into smaller, more manageable tasks to make the goal more easily approachable is called the wbs.

According to research, for the projects that use this technique, this is the most important document of the project management plan, as it single-handedly integrates the project scope, the cost estimate, and the schedule baselines making sure that all the project plans are aligned.

Work Breakdown Structure and PMBOK

According to PMBOK “wbs is a deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of work to be executed by the project team.”

Types of Work Breakdown Structure

WBS is of two types:

  • Deliverable based
  • Phase based

Deliverable-based wbs is a more commonly used type of work breakdown structure. The only difference between the two types is between the first elements of the first tier of the wbs.

Deliverable Based Work Breakdown Structure

In a deliverable-based wbs, a direct relationship between the deliverable and the scope of the project is demonstrated. Where deliverables are the services, products, etc and scope is the work that needs to be executed to obtain those deliverables.

Phase-Based Work Breakdown Structure

In phase-based work breakdown, all 5 phases of project management are mapped according to the project and then the deliverables are mentioned under each phase. And often a certain deliverable may be required in two or more phases, so we would need to use the same name in all phases hence we need to develop a WBS dictionary for this type of technique.

Format of Work Breakdown Template in Excel

To make an efficient and easily adaptable work breakdown structure, follow these steps:

Gather Critical Documents

Gather the documents that are critical to the project’s life. Identify the content that has information about deliverables. E.g., project scope statement, project charter, project management plan, etc.

Identify Key Team Members

Identify the best team members and assign them the best suitable documents and deliverables.

Identify Level 1 Elements

Identify the 1st level elements that are the summary of the project scope, which must include all the deliverables. These deliverables must always capture 100% of the scope. Verify that 100% of the scope is captured. This is also called the 100% rule.

Decompose Elements

Break down the first-level deliverables into even smaller, unique, lower-level deliverables. This process is known as decomposition. Continue the decomposition until the work left is small enough to be managed by a single person or organization.

At the end ask a question: if the work can be broken down even further, so it can become even more easily manageable. If the answer is no, then the work breakdown is complete.

Create Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary

Describe all the concepts and work in a document. This is a written description of all the breakdown processes, keeping sure that all the work is covered in all the elements. The lowest level of elements in a WBS is called work packages.

Every work package should be explained in so much detail that 100%scope is covered. The description must contain all the information about boundaries, milestones, risks, owners, costs, etc.

Create Gantt Chart Schedule

Divide the work packages, further into activities that make the work packages achievable. For further help, you can also enter those activities into a Gantt chart for further scheduling.

Types of WBS According to Templates in Excel

If you are using excel templates for making a WBS you may get two types of work breakdown structures:

  • Tree Structure: in a tree structure a typical WBS graphic is produced. One that starts from a singular node and ends up branched and sub branched as needed.
  • Tabular view: in a tabular view the information is represented in a tabular form. Everything is written down in rows and columns.

Key Components of Work Breakdown Structure

An efficient and working, WBS represents all the critical elements of the project in one visual graphic. These elements include scope, cost, schedule baseline, resources, etc.

A good and helpful WBS has the following components:

  • Proper allocation or assignment of roles and responsibilities among the team. Each person or team or organization should be aware of the tasks they are responsible for
  • A proper schedule for the beginning and end of each task, each activity each work package
  • List of all the resources required at each point
  • An accurate estimate of the cost of each activity, each work package will accrue
  • WBS Ids should be assigned to each node
  • All the details about contracts, requirements to fulfill those contracts, and milestones should be mentioned
  • Quality control, requirements, and standards should be maintained as per protocol
  • Keep a record of all the technical information and resources needed to achieve required results

A well comprehensible WBS can even serve the directors and higher authorities of the organization. An efficient WBS can act for:

  • Managing team assignments by human resource personnel
  • Keeping the project on schedule and maintaining the schedule baseline
  • Keep a check on quality assurance
  • Foresee the organizational environmental factors and their effects
  • Identify organizational process assets
  • The track version history of the project
  • Establish dependencies between deliverables and activities
  • Keep a track of the overall progress of a project

Key Points for Efficient Work Breakdown Structure

While creating a WBS keep the following points in mind:

  • Use nouns in place of verbs to keep the focus on deliverables
  • A hierarchy or tree structure should be used for demonstrating the relationship between deliverables and the project scope.
  • While moving down through various levels of WBS, a 100% rule should be followed.
  • Work breakdown structure should be built collaboratively with the consent and input of all the members.
  • The top most-level of WBS represents the final project.
  • The duration of each task should not be longer than 10 days.
  • Each task should be unique, and there should be no duplicates.

It should be helpful in detailed cost estimation, by assigning a cost to every small activity.


  1. Brian Haessly

    I would like for you to send me the WBS template for excel please. I would like to implement this in managing multiple projects for multiple different locations

  2. Tiago Braga

    Looks great

    Could I get the Filename: “WBS-TEMPLATE”
    File Size: 153 Kb
    File Format: Ms Excel(xlsx)

  3. liujinbai

    I would like for you to send me the WBS template for excel please. I would like to implement this in managing multiple projects for multiple different locations.

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