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At the Planning Stage, the project team collates and combines individual plans for cost, scope, duration, quality, communication, risk, and resources to create a detailed project plan. 

Some of the important activities that mark this phase are creating the work breakdown structure (WBS), schedule, milestone charts, resource estimates and allocations. 

Teams also identify communication methods with stakeholders based on the important deliverables. The project team allocates time to build a plan to manage identified and unidentified risks, as this may affect aspects of the project later on.

Risk management planning includes risk identification and analysis, risk mitigation approaches, and risk response planning.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)?

The Project Management Institute states the deliverable-oriented statement of how the work executed by the project team should create the objectives and required deliverables.  

The definition tells us who is responsible, what it is, and for what purpose. If you have a large project, the project team creates the WBS to help break the project down into smaller, more manageable and measurable deliverables that describe planned outcomes rather than planned actions.

WBS levels

As a hierarchy, a WBS contains at least three levels, but can contain more depending on the complexity and size of a project. 

The WBS levels are:

  • First level: Project title of final deliverable
  • Second level: Major deliverables or controls account
  • Third level: Work packages that are deliverable to the customer
  • Fourth level: Activities assigned to team members to complete work packages

All levels of a WBS should contain verifiable pieces of work. Project stakeholders can verify outcomes through completed schedules or milestones.  Some branches of a WBS can appear more subdivided because of project complexity. But most branches should have about three to four levels as a rule.

WBS formats

The hierarchy of a WBS can take different formats. Here are some examples.


Outline format

The WBS outline is the simplest format for breaking down a large project or major deliverable. But it can also contain minimum details and exclude information such as assignment, duration, or budget.

WBS outline format
Llewellyn Lazaro

Llewellyn Lazaro

A well rounded certified Project Manager with experience in Government and Corporate sectors and a proven track record in leading high performing teams to successfully deliver large-scale projects, as well as recent experience in Program Management and strategy.

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