Project Management

Component-Based Work Breakdown Structures – A Simplified Version

Brenda L. Taylor, MS, PMP, is a senior project manager with Owens Corning Sales, LLC. She has been a project manager for over 20 years, and has spent most of that time in manufacturing—both in information technology (IT) and helping businesses.

This paper discusses using a component-based work breakdown structure (WBS) to develop individual components that add value to project planning efficiency. These components can be put into a “catalog of components” to be used by everyone in an organization. A component is a small piece of work that can be used from one project to another, and can be built with information that an organization views as valuable.

The information will come from previous project knowledge, saving it to be reused. The information that is captured for each component can help enable a project to make important or even critical decisions. These components can then be used as “building blocks” to quickly construct a baseline project management plan. Although this information will still need to be validated by the new project team, it could provide a project manager with a quick start to a new project.

This article is designed to help you understand the concepts behind a component-based work breakdown structure (WBS), and using it to enhance your organization’s planning efficiency.

Although a project by its nature is unique, most organizations or departments—and even project managers—run projects that have similarities from one project to another. Software development companies, for example, will have project management plans that…

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