Work Breakdown Structure Template

By | July 23, 2016

Attempting to manage a project can be incredibly difficult. The size and scope of the project will ultimately help to determine the complexity, but even the smallest projects require extreme concentration. If you’re put into this type of position, you’ll want to do your best to make the process are simple as possible. One of the best ways to simplify things is by laying out your project with the help of a work breakdown structure template. If you’re unfamiliar with this document, you’ll want to continue reading below to learn more.

Its Purpose

When it comes down to it, the main purpose of the work breakdown structure is to help manage a project. As the name suggests, this type of layout takes the entire project and breaks it down into smaller segments. Instead of attempting to force your team to focus on the entirety of the project, it gives them the ability to focus on and complete small tasks. The document is primarily utilized in situations where the project is intricate, complex, and could prove overwhelming to the project team.

By breaking down the project into smaller tasks, the project team will never feel stressed and will be able to make small accomplishments, until they manage to complete the project entirely.

Enormous Uses

Although the work breakdown structure template is more commonly used by project managers, it can actually be used for an assortment of different purposes. In fact, this type of system was originally developed by the United States Department of Defense. It was used by the United States Navy in 1957 to help with the development of the Polaris missile program. The tree structure anytime a team wishes to achieve a specific objective. It can be used for projects, programs and even contracts. The focus of the document may be a product, service, data, or a combination of all three.

As an example, the work breakdown structure can be used to layout an aircraft system or a cooperative project between two organizations.

Understanding The Level Of Detail

When attempting to put together an effective work breakdown structure, it is essential to focus on the smaller elements. How far should the work be broken down? How small should the minor elements be? Although you can utilize the template in any way you see fit, the experts have put a few key guidelines in place to help improve the effectiveness of this system. Generally, there is an 80-hour rule, which should be followed. The smaller tasks should be able to be completed with less than 80-hours of effort.

It is also essential to consider the frequency of reporting from you team. If your team will be reporting back every two weeks, you will want to make sure all smaller projects can be completed within that duration of time.


All in all, the work breakdown structure can be incredibly beneficial for various situations. Whether you’re running a project or attempting to develop some type of system, it is often wise to focus on small tests and not the entirety. The work breakdown structure will help you remain focused, without causing your team to become overwhelmed, by the sheer complexity of the project at hand.


Work Breakdown Structure Template