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Project Schedules and Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

Work Breakdown Structures and project schedules are key components of a full project plan. Here we've collected example WBS and schedule files in MS Project, along with guidelines and practical advice for creating a believable project schedule. Once you have a WBS you can trust, dependencies, resource assignments, and so on are added to create a complete schedule baseline, which is a key element of your complete project plan.

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Example Work Breakdown Structures and Project Schedules
Every project is different, but the examples below can provide a starting place. Even for projects in a different industry, it can be helpful to see how another project manager handled resource allocations, early planning levels, cross-functional tasks, and more.

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  • WBS Example: Planning a Holiday Dinner
    Here's a tongue-in-cheek example of applying project management to a product development with a small team -- by scheduling a holiday dinner with everything ready at the same time.
For Members
These templates are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • Planning and Scheduling: Task Identification and Work Breakdown
    How-to process steps for developing a complete and thorough Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
  • WBS and MS Project Schedule for Electromechanical Systems Project -
    A Work Breakdown Structure for a multi-subsystem development project. More detail than that home improvement project, less detail than building the Hoover Dam. Covers all phases and cross-functional departments.
  • Software Release Lifecycle WBS in MS Project
    Work Breakdown Structure in Microsoft Project that covers 10 phases of a Software Release Lifecycle aimed at large multi-project software releases. It shows when each deliverable gets accomplished in each phase and includes typical task dependencies and primary resource assignments for each deliverable.
  • MS Project WBS/Gantt Template - IT Software Development Project -
    Very detailed, annotated cross-functional work breakdown structure for development of IT applications. Created by a PMO at a large company.
  • Software Bug Fix WBS
    Work Breakdown Structure for a project to fix bugs in an existing product or system. Documenting the work process helps avoid duplicated effort and conflicting changes, and reminds developers to take side effects and documentation into account when planning their work.
  • Party Planning WBS and Schedule
    This WBS and schedule covers planning a party, from guest list to greetings. This would also make a good example for project management newcomers.
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  • WBS Example: Marketing Project
    This WBS and early schedule (in MS Project format) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation for planning a marketing project.
  • WBS Example: Market Research Planning
    This WBS and early schedule (in MS Project format) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation for planning a market research project.
  • WBS and Project Schedule for Event Planning
    WBS and schedule (in MS Project format) created for planning an event, to ensure no important elements are overlooked.
  • WBS Example: Vendor Selection Project
    This WBS and early schedule (in MS Project format) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation for a vendor selection project.
  • WBS Example: Consulting Planning
    This WBS and early schedule (in MS Project format) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation for planning a new consulting engagement.
  • User Manual Planning WBS and Schedule
    As any technical writer can tell you, there's no such thing as "just" writing a user manual. This work breakdown in MS Project format includes notes on task estimates and resource allocation, and incorporates cross-functional tasks you could easily overlook.
  • Department- and Project-Level WBS Example
    Very high level work breakdown structure, in Microsoft Project format, for tracking department-level projects. One-stop shopping approach to tracking various group timelines and department-level phase gates (and their assumed deliverables and milestones).
  • WBS and Project Schedule for Office Relocation
    WBS and schedule created for an office move, including task estimates, resource allocation, preliminary leveling information, and more.
  • WBS and Project Schedule for Trade Show Planning
    This Microsoft Project schedule for planning a trade show includes a detailed work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, resource allocation, and even beginning leveling information. The WBS runs from conceptualization to event launch.
  • WBS Example: Presentation Planning
    WBS and early schedule (in MS Project format) includes a work breakdown, general scheduling and dependencies, and preliminary resource allocation for planning a presentation or seminar event.
  • WBS and Microsoft Project Gantt - 802.11 Master Development Schedule
    Here's an example of a large, complex, cross-functional WBS. This one is for concurrent development of a wireless networking access point and PC card using shared, common resources.
  • WBS and Microsoft Project Gantt - USB Development Schedule
    This example of an early version of the WBS precedes the first schedule baseline. It was a derivative project from the 802.11 Master Development Schedule. Good example of early planning levels.
Step-by-step Guidelines for Creating a Project Schedule
The project schedule is usually based on a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that outlines the high-level tasks necessary to complete the project work. The guidelines below provide instructions for creating a detailed WBS and project schedule (which is part, but not all, of a full project plan). Other planning documents, like budgets and team responsibility lists, can be found in our main template index.)

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  • When It's Time to Plan and Schedule a Project, What Matters Most?
    Learn what to take into account when planning, how to engage people who don't seem to care, and how to keep your plan based in reality--or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.
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Typical Scheduling Issues and Answers to Common Questions
Even the simplest projects can run into challenges around resource availability, reliable task estimates, and general uncertainty about scope and tradeoffs. These resources will help, and more are available on our page about the Initiation and Planning Phase.

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  • Pete's Estimating Laws
    A loosely bound set of Universal Laws intended as an amusing reminder of possible issues and errors you may run into when estimating project work.
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