Use of WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) worksheet as an aid to determining staffing level requirements for a project team
A WBS provides a detailed breakdown of a variety of tasks that must be completed for a given project. Estimates of a project in terms of skills and resources needed are easier to understand at the smallest level. The level of detail provided by WBS is useful in determining estimates as well as project staffing. The work packages also make it easier to identify the risks that are likely to be encountered during execution.
WBS offer many business benefits. Given the fact that work is broken down into the smallest possible units, stakeholders can easily get their minds around the project process, putting into consideration its complexity, requirements and constraints. The team members can easily be allocated tasks based on the level established using WBS. The complexity at each level determines the amount of effort and resources to be dedicated to that level. Team members therefore, are provided with an understanding of where their respective tasks fit to the overall project plan.
Work packages are also important in the realization of work boundary of each team. Conflicts and other problems associated with poor communication are likely to be reduced. It provides the basis for estimation of staff requirement, cost and duration of the entire project. Scope can easily be identified as well and as such make it easier for managers to manage and control it, while ensuring that the staff work within the required boundary. This will help the team to focus better on what need to be done therefore resulting in high quality results and improved management.
Determination of resources and staffing requirements for large and complex projects is a hard and time-consuming task. However, breaking down the project into smaller work packages and pieces makes it easier to estimate the entire requirements by summing up all the individual requirements of each package. It is in this regard to this that that the WBS can be used as a basic worksheet to determine project team staffing needs.
Brotherton, S. A., Fried, R. T., & Norman, E. S. (2008). Applying the work breakdown structure to the project management lifecycle. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from Global Congress: http://www.ca.com/files/whitepapers/fried_wbs__pmi_global_congress_202925.pdf
Forest, P., & Fischer, M. (2009, April). Case study: Scope-cost-time integrated model with work. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from Stanford University: http://www.stanford.edu/group/CIFE/online.publications/WP115.pdf