International Institute for Learning, Inc.
PM Core and Intermediate Courses
WBS — The Keystone of Project Management
Improve Your Project Planning
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Course No.:
2 Days
14 PDUs / 1.4 CEUs / 16 CPEs
Virtual Classroom / On-Demand Learning
Course No.:
Four 3-hour sessions
12 PDUs / 1.2 CEUs
Course Level:
Basic understanding of project management or equivalent experience

About the Program
It’s amazing how often project managers begin the project planning process by making an outlined list of every task they believe will be required to complete a project and then proclaim they have created the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the project. The result is a list of hundreds, or even thousands of tasks, many of them having durations of a few days or a few hours.

Essentially, what they have done is create a “to do” list, which they then use as a checklist to measure progress. This approach leads to, and even encourages, micromanagement of the resources working on the project without consideration of more critical aspects of project management such as requirements management, risk management, procurement management, estimating, scheduling, executing and controlling. Further, it makes it impossible to see the big picture - at levels of detail - in keeping with the needs of sponsors, clients, project and functional managers, team leaders and project performers.

Join us for this exciting course and learn how to use the WBS to make better-informed business decisions.

Who Should Attend
You should attend this workshop if you manage single and/or multiple projects within your organization. Members of the Project Management Office, project and resource managers, team leaders and executives will benefit from the program.

Performance Focus
The goal of the course is to equip you with the necessary knowledge, skills and techniques so that you can develop an effective WBS for use in planning, executing and controlling your next project and to provide the basic tools to enhance efficient re-use of key information in future projects.

What You Will Learn
You will learn how to:

  • Describe the need for a project WBS
  • Construct a WBS
  • Determine the appropriate level of detail in the WBS
  • Describe the WBS role in the project
  • Gain practical experience in the development, decomposition and use of the WBS
  • Know how the WBS supports and integrates with project requirements, risk, procurement, estimating, scheduling, and overall project execution

Course Overview
Getting Started

  • Introductions
  • Course Structure
  • Course goals and objective


  • Key definitions
  • History of the WBS
  • Importance of the WBS
  • Overall structure
  • Terminology
  • Other breakdown structures
  • WBS tools

WBS and Requirements

  • Project scope management processes
  • Specify the project objectives
  • WBS design based on project deliverable
  • WBS decomposition process
  • The “100% rule”
  • The WBS and activity definition

WBS and Risk

  • Using risk identification to enhance the WBS
  • Risk at the project or overall requirements level
  • Risk breakdown structure or taxonomies
  • Risk management plan – risk components and work packages

WBS and Estimating

  • Use of WBS in the estimating process
  • Components and work packages
  • Sizing and algorithmic estimates
  • Estimating types and usages

WBS and Scheduling

  • Component Scheduling – high-level milestones
  • Dependencies between work packages
    • Mandatory (Hard)
    • Discretionary (Soft)
    • External
  • Work package level schedules

WBS and Execution and Control

  • Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) chart used to clarify work package responsibilities
  • Earned Value Management and tracking of work performance
  • Progress reports, forecasts and corrective and preventive actions used to manage work performance


  • What did we learn, and how can we implement this in our work environments?
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