A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool used to define and group a project's discrete work elements (ie its tasks) in a way that helps to organise and define the total work scope of the project. Each element within a work breakdown structure element may represent a product, data, a service, or any combination of the above. A WBS also provides a framework for detailed cost estimating and control.
A work breakdown structure is a tree structure, in which all of the elements on one level are summarised by elements on the level above. A WBS is useful when you want to break down the work involved in a project, starting from the main phases of the project and expanding right down to the individual tasks that must be carried out. Each element within a WBS is identified by an alphanumeric WBS code and a descriptive WBS name.
To work with a work breakdown structure, you first set up the hierarchy of WBS codes in a project. You can then assign WBS codes to the tasks in the project, either using the Select WBS Code dialog, or by clicking and dragging WBS codes onto tasks from the project view, where the WBS hierarchy is available to view.
Once you have assigned WBS codes to the tasks in a project, you can sort/group the tasks by WBS code. This presents you with an alternative view of the structure of your project: tasks are displayed according to their position in the WBS hierarchy, rather than according to their position in the project hierarchy. You can also filter tasks by the WBS codes that are assigned to them.