Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) – Quick Tip #2

Early Brainstorming of Scope—Independent of Structure


Early on my current project, we held a series of WBS brainstorming sessions with the most experienced engineering and science members of our team. We did this at a retreat, away from our normal work location, so that we could focus and work uninterrupted. We started by creating individual lists of delivered elements and subsystems of the new telescope. We used dry erase white-boards, big sheets of “butcher paper,” and lots of yellow sticky notes and index cards to capture this information in real-time. Another beneficial tool other projects have used successfully is mind mapping software. The immediate focus should be on listing and capturing everything, not sorting and categorizing them; i.e., identifying all elements of work scope at this point was significantly more important than deciding with absolute certainty where those elements should reside in relation to each other in the WBS.

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