There are many project management approaches that you can use to streamline projects within your business. Work breakdown structure is more than just one of those approaches. It is a way to see projects from a different point of view: the deliverables.
Rather than breaking down tasks, work breakdown structure focuses more on breaking down deliverables. This makes the approach suitable for anything from the manufacture of goods to software development.
Adopting a work breakdown structure also comes with a long list of benefits. To see how this project management strategy can help improve your projects, we are going to take a closer look at those benefits in this article.
The way the work breakdown structure focuses on deliverables rather than tasks is unique. The project cannot move on to the next phase before delivering the required goods or results. This introduces a more comprehensive control and allows the project to continue problem-free.
When you do run into issues with one of the deliverables, you can focus your resources on solving those issues before moving forward. The entire project, even when broken down into smaller chunks, can progress in a seamless and more controlled way.
Better Allocation of Resources
Breaking down a project based on deliverables also help you with task management. You know exactly the resources required to get to the deliverables, so you can organize tasks and manage those resources better.
Let’s say you are manufacturing a bicycle. You know that you need a frame, a handlebar, a seat, and a fork to construct a complete frame set. Those components are the deliverables of your first stage, with the completed frame set being the deliverable of your second.
You can then allocate resources and tasks accordingly. Building a frame requires more time and expertise, so you can channel more skilled welders to the task. If you outsource your forks and seats, you know you need good purchasing people for these tasks.
The previous example also shows how the work breakdown structure in project management has multiple layers. You can start with the smallest components as deliverables, and continue with bigger, fully-assembled ones as you move up one layer.
This is in line with the Kanban system, and you can use Kanbanize to help organize these layers. Kanbanize is a tool that simplifies the use of Kanban boards and cards for visual project management. You can also use the platform to assign each task to certain PICs or employees.
Kanbanize covers the way multiple layers in work breakdown structure help your business operate in a more unified way. If you want to learn more about optimizing the layers of your project and how work breakdown structure in project management improves productivity, you can read more in this blog post.
Speaking of improving productivity, one of the challenges faced by businesses today is balancing between productivity and risk mitigation. It is easy to push too hard for the sake of getting better results, but that same push could also lead to more mistakes and additional problems.
The work breakdown structure mitigates risks in every layer. Rather than allowing the rest of the project to move forward when one aspect of it fails, the system is designed to make sure that all tasks within one layer are completed – with their results delivered – before you can continue.
At the same time, a work breakdown structure also minimizes the risk of bad results and low-quality work from affecting the rest of the project. It does so during the breaking down of the project structure itself. You get clearer insights on potential risks and can put measures to manage them.
Better Time Management
Deliverables may be the base of a work breakdown project, but the strategy also enables better time management. Using the previous example, it is much easier to calculate the time required to produce a complete frame set for a bicycle when it is structured based on deliverables or components.
You know that it takes a certain number of hours to produce a frame and a handlebar, which means you can schedule delivery of seats and forks accordingly. As a result, all components are ready just in time for the assembly of the frameset, and each frame set can be completed on schedule.
In certain situations, especially when dealing with issues, you can choose to redirect teams that have completed their tasks to help others that haven’t. When the production of user management modules is holding a software development project back, developers who have completed their tasks can help with problem-solving and even coding the user management module as needed.
That extra flexibility produces a huge advantage. Combined with the other benefits we discussed in this article, work breakdown structure becomes a powerful project management strategy that can give you an extra edge on the market. With the market being as competitive as it is today, you know that extra edge is very valuable.