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Effective Software Project Management by Robert K. Wysocki Ph.D.

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Work Breakdown Structure Template

There are several approaches to building a complete WBS. A popular choice is the deliverables-based approach recommended in the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) standards. While you could certainly take that approach in the Linear SDPM strategy, it will almost certainly overcomplicate the project. The approach I am recommending for the Linear SDPM strategy is to have the first-level breakdown be design, build, test, and implement, or some variation of it. The second and following levels of decomposition could then be a deliverables-based approach within each of the major phases of the particular linear model you are using. There is no point in making the WBS structure any more complicated than it needs to be. By following this approach, the opportunity to use templates from past projects increases significantly. Figure 5-1 is an example template for a Waterfall model.

Figure 5-1. WBS for a Waterfall model

The template can be modified for a specific project. The real value in this approach is that you can leverage all past experiences of projects that used this template. That extends to task duration estimation, dependency diagramming, estimation of resource requirements, and even a complete risk management plan. As another side benefit, you could use the template as a structure ...

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