Planning has become a very important part of our daily routines. People who plan in advance are generally less stressed and manage to get their work done on time. There are many methods to plan something. One of the frequently used methods is Gantt charts, but they only provide a high level overview of tasks. To break it down to even smaller tasks we can use work breakdown structures.

In large companies work breakdown structures are used in a methodical way that allows even cost estimations. But in a much simpler level they can be used by almost anyone to plan their work. Work breakdown structures are basically tree structures but the levels don’t necessarily represent a hierarchy.

Using Work Breakdown Structures

Since I frequently use them when building websites I will explain using an example. Building and ranking a website from scratch is not as easy task. There are many things that need to be done and not everything can be done by you. This is where work breakdown structures become really useful. You can identify the main tasks and then break it down to smaller tasks. For example the main tasks can be website design, content creation, social media marketing and search engine optimization. You can breakdown a main task like search engine optimization to smaller tasks like directory submissions, blog comments, article marketing, guest posting etc. If you want you can break them down even further. Below is a partially filed work breakdown structure of a website.

Advantages of Using Work Breakdown Structures

There are many advantages in using work breakdown structures. One is you can easily use it to get a quick overview of the tasks involved in a project. This makes it easier to plan things like outsourcing, hiring etc. Also this makes it easier to share your plan with others and get feedback. A work breakdown structure clearly shows what you are planning to do so anyone else can point out what you have missed to include in the plan. Also if you are using diagramming tool you can colour the done tasks in a different colour etc. making it easier to track progress.

Drawing Work Breakdown Structures

Work breakdown structures involve boxes and arrows. So you can use almost any basic diagramming tool to draw them. You can even use a word processor like Microsoft word etc. However if you use a specialized diagramming tool it makes it easier to control the arrows, alignment and colours. Also you can use many work breakdown structure templates which are free to download and use.

About the Author
Nishadha Silva is a software engineer turned tech evangelist promoting awesome flowchart software like Creately. Other than flowchart you can use it to draw work breakdown structure and you get work breakdown structure templates to get started quickly.



3 Responses to Using work breakdown structures to plan your work

  1. Creating a website requires such a varied skill set these days, organizing you work in this format is essential. That way you don’t spend your time is put to use more efficiently. Great article.


  2. I think your right Kyle, you do need a varied skill set but its more common now days to have a team of people working on a project. This method seems a much better way of organising who is doing what. I have already forwarded it on to my manager!!!


  3. Kelly K. says:

    Yep, good organizational skills decide who\’s business will be successful these days. BTW just discovered a cool tool called workflowy.com, I\’ve been using it a lot lately. Suggest everyone to try.


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