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A WordPress-Based Work Break Structure For Projects

A WordPress-Based Work Break Structure for Projects

Imagine you’re building a large Lego model.

How do you get started? Would you find the first brick and then start adding bricks one after the other until the end?

Yes, that’s possible, but there are smarter approaches. You can make the task more manageable by breaking the project into sections.

If you read a Lego instruction manual, they break each model into different sections. If you’re building a Lego airplane, you may build the right wing, the left wing, the cockpit, the tail, and then the fuselage.

This image from “Project Management for Dummies” shows you how to divide a single project into multiple components. The more complex the project is, the more levels you will have.

Work Break Structure system

This approach is called the Work Break Structure (WBS) system.

There are normally a couple of different ways you can visual a project using the WBS. One common approach is to use a vertical chart:

WBS project with chart

A second common alternative is to use a spreadsheet-style layout:

Work Break Structure system with table layout

Often this is combined with a Gantt chart view of the project, as in the image below. (thanks to Critical Tools for these three images)

Work Break Structure system with Gantt layout

Using the WBS system in WordPress

If you’re applying the WBS system to a project managed in WordPress with UpStream, then do have the option to create multiple levels on your project. Here’s an example that goes 4 levels deep.

  • Level 1: Project
  • Level 2: Milestones
  • Level 3: Tasks
  • Level 4: Bugs

Depending on how you want to think about it, both Tasks and Bugs could be on Level 3 because they often contain problems of similar scope.

Work Break Structure system in WordPress

If you look at the front end of an UpStream project, you’ll see each level arranged in this hierarchy. The Level 1 (Project) details are at the top of the page, and as you scroll down, the project is broken down into smaller and smaller items. These lowest Level 4 components are called “work packages” in the Work Break Structure system.

Work Break Structure system with UpStream

UpStream doesn’t have a vertical chart option, but with the Project Timeline extension you can get a table and Gantt chart view of the project:

Here’s how to use the Gantt chart in UpStream:

Getting a Project Done in the WBS System

If you’re responsible for a project and want to use the WBS system, this the approach you can take:

  • Level 1: Decide on the main deliverables for the project (a completed Lego set).
  • Level 2: Divide each deliverable into component deliverables (right wing, left wing, cockpit, tail, fuselage).
  • Level 3: Divide each Level 2 deliverable into parts (steps needed to build the right wing etc.).

Here’s how could you put that into practice using WordPress and UpStream:

  • Level 1: Set up the project with details of the deliverables.
  • Level 2: Create Milestones for each main deliverable.
  • Level 3: Divide each Milestone by creating Tasks.

Summary

The Work Break Structure system is far from the only approach to project management, but it can be highly effective.

If you aren’t using UpStream yet, click here to create a free demo with all the premium extensions.

If you have any questions about applying your project management process to WordPress and UpStream, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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