Work Breakdown

When you are faced with a big task or project, the best thing to do is to start by breaking the work down into the smallest possible tasks. The work or reducing work to small tasks means that if you start with the job of “create a new product,” you should then determine all of the smaller tasks that need to go into this. But don’t start just listing things, start by thinking about the next-level tasks that would feed into creating a new product. 

With Create A Product as your project, your next-level grouping could be:

  1. Determine the most desirable features that the customers want. 
  2. Determine the markets where you want to sell the next product.
  3. Determine the use of the product. 
  4. Determine the manufacturing process. 

Once you have these four groups, you can break each item down into sub-tasks. And each of those sub-tasks into smaller tasks. 

Keep breaking the tasks down until you get to the point that it would seem unreasonable to break the task down any more. Then go one level smaller. By reducing each piece of work to the smallest possible piece of work, you can correctly estimate time, cost, and quality for each piece of work. At the same time, the whole work-breakdown exercise lets you determine how big the scope of your project is. If you create a work-breakdown and find out that the schedule or budget is beyond what the organization can afford, you can make changes in the planning stage to address issues. 

Take time to make a work breakdown structure for each of your projects. It will be a useful roadmap, as well as a good place to start conversations about the change that will be delivered by your project.