60 Work Breakdown Structure Templates (WBS)

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), in its literal meaning, is making small pieces out of more significant pieces. A work breakdown structure template breaks down work into small, easily manageable bits that can then be scheduled and assigned. This helps enhance productivity and make work more accessible by making the work more visual for the team.

One of the first times I used a WBS was in a website migration project that required multiple teams to work together. My main problem was that everybody was only interested in their scope and couldn’t agree on what was needed. I approached it by meeting with all stakeholders individually and documenting all the tasks required to be completed during the migration.

Then, I created a WBS on a PowerPoint slide with all the tasks they highlighted, grouping them logically. Next, I got all stakeholders in a room to discuss the WBS. There was a bit of back and forth about what was needed vs. what wasn’t, who was to do what, etc, but having all the tasks on the screen made it easy for them to have these discussions. I updated you as we discussed, and at the end of the meeting, we agreed on the WBS, which was the project’s scope.

Ever since then, I have been a huge fan of WBS. I use them in project kickoff to help visualize the work needed and facilitate stakeholder conversations.

Project Management WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)

If you have a big project, you should consider using WBS to manage, schedule, and deliver it quickly. From a project management perspective, the WBS is composed of levels which are:
✓ Controls Account consists of the leading project deliverables and phases that should be achieved in projects.
✓ Work packages are the amount of work or activities that will assist in achieving the control account level.
✓ Activities involve work or tasks to finish the project or the work package.

All these levels are found in all types of work, including primary structure.

Let us look at the following construction project to help you understand the WBS template and what it looks like. Construction is quite a complex project, but thanks to the WBS template, that difficulty can be broken down into small, manageable tasks.

Work Breakdown Structure Project Management Definition

PMBOK defines the work-breakdown structure as a “hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.”

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 5)

How to create a WBS Template

When creating a WBS, you must derive or have an objective in mind based on the task you want to accomplish. The objective can be anything you want to be completed or done.

Second, split the objective or instead the project into manageable or small pieces. Be careful not to list every step that will ensure the project’s success. It would be best to only deal with necessary deliverables, not actions, at this step.

Third, considering the type of project you are undertaking, divide the project into sections, phases, or sub-objectives, which can then be scheduled and assigned.

After creating a WBS, you should present it to all stakeholders to confirm that it covers the expected scope of the project. After the scope is agreed upon, you can start making a project plan by sequencing the pieces of work.

WBS in Instagantt

Tips for Making Sample WBS Document

  • The work undertaken using WBS must be 100% of all required to achieve the project’s objective. Any task must be related to or aimed at achieving the project’s overall purpose, commonly called the 100% rule.
  • Always remember not to use a sub-task twice or plan to do any work twice. Doing so would contradict the 100% rule, leading to errors and misrepresenting figures when allocating project resources.
  • Please focus on the project’s outcomes, not its actions. Stick to deliverables rather than the actions to be undertaken.
  • Use the 8/80 rule, which states that work should take 8 hours and no more than 80 hours of effort. In other words, working 8 hours a day should not take more than ten days.
  • A WBS should have three levels of detail. The subdivision of WBS branches can be subdivided more, but the majority consist of three levels.
  • Allocating assignments to specific teams or individuals to undertake tasks is prudent, so ensuring well-defined responsibilities is essential.

The risk breakdown structure example below, built with Lucidchart, excellently displays the levels and focuses on outcomes. It is easy to read and understand what will be done and what is covered in the scope.

A WBS is important because it assists to:

✓ The WBS helps to understand a project better, as when developing a WBS, the team gets to understand the project and their roles.
✓ A WBS helps define the project scope, schedule, risk plan, and budget.

Limitations of WBS Templates

  1. It needs active interface management.
  2. It leads to more work for the management as they organize, plan, monitor, and review.
  3. Problems related to demarcation can arise
  4. It is hectic to do a step-by-step analysis of the project.

Please start with the deliverable at the very top of the structure as its title, then break it down into several tasks, then to easily manageable sub-tasks.

18 Free WBS Templates in Google Docs

  1. Google Doc WBS Template 01/43 – Office Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  2. Google Doc WBS Template 02/43 – Company Project WBS Levels Example
  3. Google Doc WBS Template 03/43 – Organisation Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  4. Google Doc WBS Template 04/43 – Project Deliverables Work Breakdown Structure Example
  5. Google Doc WBS Template 05/43 – Project Management WBS Outline and Diagram Example
  6. Google Doc WBS Template 06/43 – Blank Project Work Breakdown Structure
  7. Google Doc WBS Template 07/43 – Blank WBS for a Client Project Template
  8. Google Doc WBS Template 08/43 – Project Work Breakdown Structure Tree Example
  9. Google Doc WBS Template 09/43 – One Page Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary Example
  10. Google Doc WBS Template 10/43 – Contractual Project WBS Dictionary Example
  11. Google Doc WBS Template 11/43 – Project Management WBS Table Example
  12. Google Doc WBS Template 12/43 – Simple Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  13. àGoogle Doc WBS Template 13/43 – Management System WBS Tree View Example
  14. Google Doc WBS Template 14/43 – Blank Project Tasks Work Breakdown Structure
  15. Google Doc WBS Template 15/43 – Project Planning Work Breakdown Structure Table Example
  16. Google Doc WBS Template 16/43 – Blank WBS Diagram and Dictionary Example
  17. Google Doc WBS Template 17/43 – Project Work Breakdown Structure Chart Example
  18. Google Doc WBS Template 18/43 – Project Management Docs WBS Example

25 Free WBS Templates in Google Sheets

You must go to File / Make a Copy to edit a Google Doc. This option is only available if you are logged into Google.

  1. Google Sheet WBS Template 19/43 – Project Managers Blank WBS Example
  2. Google Sheet WBS Template 20/43 – Project Managers Blank WBS with WBS Tree Example
  3. Google Sheet WBS Template 21/43 – Company Project WBS Diagram Example
  4. Google Sheet WBS Template 22/43 – Blank Project Manager WBS Dictionary
  5. Google Sheet WBS Template 23/43 – Company Project WBS Outline and Diagram Example
  6. Google Sheet WBS Template 24/43 – Company Project WBS with Blank Gantt Chart Example
  7. Google Sheet WBS Template 25/43 – IT Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  8. Google Sheet WBS Template 26/43 – Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  9. Google Sheet WBS Template 27/43 – Company Project Blank WBS Dictionary
  10. Google Sheet WBS Template 28/43 – Project Work Breakdown Structure Example
  11. Google Sheet WBS Template 29/43 – Simple Project WBS Diagram and Outline Example
  12. Google Sheet WBS Template 30/43 – Project Management WBS Table Example
  13. Google Sheet WBS Template 31/43 – Project WBS Outline and Diagram Example
  14. Google Sheet WBS Template 32/43 – Project Manager WBS Example and Blank Diagram
  15. Google Sheet WBS Template 33/43 – Client Project WBS Table Example
  16. Google Sheet WBS Template 34/43 – Project WBS Table Detailed Example
  17. Google Sheet WBS Template 35/43 – Project WBS Task Level Table Example
  18. Google Sheet WBS Template 36/43 – Project WBS Level Diagram Example
  19. Google Sheet WBS Template 37/43 – Product WBS Table Example
  20. Google Sheet WBS Template 38/43 – Multiple Project WBS Table Example
  21. Google Sheet WBS Template 39/43 – Basic WBS Table with Duration Example
  22. Google Sheet WBS Template 40/43 – Large Project WBS Table
  23. Google Sheet WBS Template 41/43 – Business WBS Table Example
  24. Google Sheet WBS Template 42/43 – Project WBS with Budget Allocation Example
  25. Google Sheet WBS Template 43/43 – Project Tasks WBS Blank Table

7 Free Work Breakdown Structure / WBS Templates Excel

  1. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Template with Gantt Chart
  2. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Diagram Template
  3. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary Template
  4. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Outline and Diagram Template
  5. ProjectManager Work Breakdown Structure Template in Excel
  6. Stakeholdermap Free Work Breakdown Structure Templates
  7. Vertex42 Work Breakdown Structure Template

4 Free Work Breakdown Structure / WBS Templates Word

  1. TemplateLab 30+ Work Breakdown Structure Templates 
  2. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Tree Diagram Template
  3. Smartsheet Work Breakdown Structure Levels Template
  4. Work Breakdown Structure Template – A.cdc.gov

Free Work Breakdown Structure / WBS Templates PDF

Free Online Work Breakdown Structure Template

Creative Work Breakdown Charts

Any person in charge of the project, in one way or another, knows what is required of them to complete a project, the timeline, and the cost of the project. They might then graphically and creatively demonstrate this to the stakeholders. There are some ready-made Work Breakdown Structure Templates in Canva you can use straight away.

Further Questions on What a Work Breakdown Structure

If you like the video below it is worth checking out the ProjectManagers work breakdown structure guide that provides extra details you might need to complete the WBS and get your project kicked off.


Daniel Raymond

Daniel Raymond, a project manager with over 20 years of experience, is the former CEO of a successful software company called Websystems. With a strong background in managing complex projects, he applied his expertise to develop AceProject.com and Bridge24.com, innovative project management tools designed to streamline processes and improve productivity. Throughout his career, Daniel has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence and a passion for empowering teams to achieve their goals.

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