【WBS Case Study】 Work Breakdown Structure: Let’s make an actual project plan!【Mentoring】

【WBS Case Study】 Work Breakdown Structure: Let's make an actual project plan!

(Duration: 5:10)

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)” template file.


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Let’s make a project plan with WBS.


Hi this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.


In the earlier video, I announced that a new project has begun in the Mentoring Program.  In this episode, we’ll make a project plan. Please click this link and see what this project looks like.


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I always create a WBS first. It makes it easy for me to make a project plan.  If the project has a small scale, the WBS alone works fine as a project plan.  There is a link in this video’s description to download the WBS template. Please click the link and try the template.


  • DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)” template file.


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First type rough milestones for your project. The Kaizen project has a basic framework. That is DMAIC. Consider your milestones along the DMAIC framework.


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That’s been said, here is very important mindset in a Kaizen project in service operations: “You don’t need to use all tools and follow the DMAIC steps unnecessarily, but be creative in order to achieve the projects’ goal.”


A WBS Composition Step by Step


This project is my wife Lara’s improvement project to improve her artwork production business flow.  Usually I would do a current business flow analysis, but since there is no standardized process in her case, we decided to make a new business flow from scratch.  Let’s break down our work on the template.




I’ve typed the milestones here. Since Lean Sigma always starts from VOC (Voice Of Customers), we’ll make a CTQ Tree.  I’ll put “Conduct a CTQ Tree analysis and understand client’s CTQ.” Double-click here. Its Deliverable will also be a “CTQ Tree”.


Next is “Design an ideal business flow.” Deliverables will be the “SIPOC Analysis” and “Value Stream Map.”


Next is “Develop a business operation system with Excel.” You may think, “Can you do such a thing with Excel?” Yes, we can.  I’ll talk about this in the near future. Its Deliverable is also a “Business operation system”.


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Lara’s biggest problem is that her workplace is not maintained organized. I’ll practice Lean’s 5S here. It will be Milestone 4.  Let’s do a little more work decomposition. Always a goal and plan comes first, so Deliverable 1 is “Workplace Layout Map incorporating the new process.”  Next is “Action Plan” and “Equipment shopping list and purchasing”. Deliverable 4 is “Execution of the plan.”


The last milestone is “Train Lara and hand this new operation over to her.”


If this project was on a bigger scale, I would decompose to a deeper layer, “Tasks”, but it’s not necessary because the only Deliverable’s Task Lead is myself.  By the same reasoning, I didn’t make a Gantt Chart.


Unusual requests from my client


I received some unusual requests from my client, such as:  “Don’t commit me to a specific design, ahead of time – that’s not how art works.” This is a tough request because I have to make a process without relying on planning.  Artists and engineers are very different animals. But, It’s very important to understand a project’s constraints at the beginning.  We completed our WBS. We will conduct our project in accordance with this WBS. This is a great start.


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