Work Break down Structure (WBS) using MS project and chart pro

Work Break down Structure (WBS) is a deliverable orientated sub task/activity/goal of a project that is defined in a hierarchical way. Typically the WBS consist the organized task list, estimated time and the resources assigned/required for each tasks. It is very good way to communicate scope and deliverables of the project to stakeholder. Breaking down any project in to smaller components, makes it more manageable. As because, WBS consist the basic information of the project objectives, it becomes easier for the stakeholders to understand the scope and goal of the project.


WBS is absolutely necessary for the success of a project. As soon as we have the basic information and understanding to the project, we should start building the WBS. As stated earlier, breaking down a project in smaller pieces turns the project more manageable. However, it is always recommended to keep focus on project deliverables instead of activities while creating a work breakdown structure. Focusing on activities/actions will end you up with a large and unmanageable WBS.


Following example shows the steps to create WBS using MS project 2003 and Chart pro 4.7. Though MS project comes with number of tools and adds-on for presenting WBS, but I prefer to use chart pro. Chart Pro is an excellent tool to present WBS in more presentable and informative way. It can integrate with MS project and exchange data bi-directionally. So the step one is to have the project plan ready with tasks, subtasks, schedule and resources. Your project should look like following in Gantt chart view…

Then run WBS chart pro from your start menu. Go to Tools – Microsoft Project – Display WBS chart of active project

There are numbers of view available that can be accessed from View – views. Also same can be navigated from tool bar using navigation buttons. I took “Critical Path View 2” and my WBS chart looks like following

In this chart, there are number of information like Task Name, Start and End Date, Duration, Progress available. However, to add more information like resource name in the bottom of each task box, select a task box – go to format menu – Text Boxes. Following dialog box will appear.

Select the last cell in task box and click on Insert Below button in the left, it will insert two cells in the bottom to task box, select both then turn the “Merge Cell” check box on. Go to the field dropdown in the bottom and select resource names then Ok. Your WBS will look like this…..

Other features in chart pro are available to make your chart more attractive and informative.

That’s all folks.


About Mamun Shaheed

I love to imagine....I guess thats the only thing that keeps me going and going and going....
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