Project Management

Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
WBS dictionary vs. Activity List
What's the difference between a WBS ditionary and an activity list?
Sort By:
WBS is the breakdown of scope into products or deliverables that result from an activity or a group of activities. The WBS workpackages are broken down into activities to prpduce the workpackages. To structure the scope into a WBS is part of scope management, whereas the activity definitions (activity list) belong to the scheduling process (Time Management).
WBS dictionary is a list of definitions for the WBS components or term.

This link will give you an example for WBS & WBS dictionary:

Activity list is the one you use for planning in MS Project to create a Gant Chart. It needs resources & has a time frame.

Here is a simple example in this link as well:

P.S. Activities are derived from the work packages in the WBS
Salvatore -

WBS work packages tend to still be representing the "what" whereas activities are much more focused on the "how".

For example, a work package in my "Cook Christmas Dinner" project's WBS might be Baking a fruit cake. The activities would be the major individual steps in the recipe to bake the fruit cake.

Agree with Kiron!!!
Thank you very much everyone.

Kiron, you made it very clear, that's what I thought it was, but wanted to double check.
Kiron, great answer!!!
A wise philosophy teacher taught me in college, there is nothing quite like the power of analogies to break down complicated concepts into simple terms that most everyone can relate to in any language. Think about it for a minute, I could go up to anyone on the planet and asked, in their native tongue, hey, what's the difference between a WBS and an Activity List? The answer would most likely be, I don't know. I am certain, by using the "Baking a fruit cake" analogy, you would see the "lights" come on! Assuming of course the person knows what a cake is and they have "lights" that work. Thanks Kiron for confirming my long held belief.
The WBS and Activity lists are two different things. WBS is a breakdown of your scope of work. Activity list is a spreadsheet that includes all the activities in detail. WBS groups several activities that are involved on the activity sheet.
Thanks for your thoughts

Please login or join to reply

Content ID: