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Knowledge Base: What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and how does the Vitruvi™ application use it?

Work Breakdown structures help project planners organize their scope - and Vitruvi to create and track project data

Definition

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a project management tool which enables a project manager to define the scope and requirements for their project by breaking it down into individual deliverables organized into hierarchical groups. This increasingly granular definition of requirements is useful because planning around a WBS ensures that you can account for all the deliverables involved in your project, and that nothing is left out or is beyond scope.

The Vitruvi™ software uses a WBS to organize its project planning module(s). This Work Breakdown Structure helps you deliver projects effectively through a packaging system. Work Packages group together Work Orders with similar goals. Within those Work Orders, each of which is assigned to a different Crew, Work Items track the smallest project deliverables and tasks.

Working with a WBS in Vitruvi™ Desktop

Begin creating a Work Breakdown structure at the broadest level: your project itself. In the Vitruvi™ application, this is represented by the Scope. The Scope can be broken down further into four sections:

  • Owner: the entity that owns, or will own, the infrastructure being constructed (Network Operator, utility company, end customer, etc.)
  • Program: the overall contract/scope for work being undertaken
  • Program segment: a subsection, or segment, of contracted work to focus on (by phase, by region, by time period, etc.)
  • Region: the geographical location where your work will take place

After setting your Scope, begin defining the major project phases needed to complete the project, called "Work Packages". A Work Package covers all work required to accomplish certain project phases; it packages Work Orders together to achieve one overarching goal.

Once you know the overall stages of your project, break each of those down into segments organized by who needs to accomplish them. These categories will contain “to-do” lists; like an order of dishes for a particular table at a Restaurant, Work Orders organize individual to-do list items by the functional unit responsible for them. This could be a section of the Network Operator, or an external subcontractor.

Finally, at is most granular, your Work Breakdown Structure should identify individual deliverables - the "to-do list" items within Work Orders. These are represented in the Vitruvi™ application by Work Items. At this stage, no Work Item should be capable of breaking down any further into smaller tasks.

WBS tree-small

Benefits

By using this data structure, the Vitruvi™ software can:

  • Create schedules which represent all work to be done, by which parties
  • Organize Work for crews, assigning the appropriate kind of work and workload to the appropriate crew
  • Track labor and material requirements in detail