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How to write a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) 【Excel Template】

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How to write a WBS (Work Breakdown S...

This article explains how to write WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) on the WBS Excel template. The tips to creating a WBS is to first write the milestones of your project, then write the deliverables for each milestone and the task for each deliverable.

(Duration: 5:04)

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “WBS” Template file.

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How to use this WBS Excel template

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma, Black Belt.

You can download the template that I’m going to show you today from the link below.  Please try it and give me your feedback.

DOWNLOAD  ← Click this to download the “WBS” Template file.

Since this file uses VBA AKA Macros, when you open the file, Excel security may disable it.  You have to enable the VBA by clicking the buttons, “Enable Editing” and “Enable Macros” where are above.

Here are instructions for this template, so please refer to them later.

WBS Template Instruction

First of all, fill out the upper section in light blue by referring to your project charter.

(Click the image below to enlarge the image.)


Type your project milestones in the next section.  Then, you’ll see your inputs automatically displayed in the Goal Statement and its next line below.

This shape of WBS is very different from a regular up-side-down, tree-shaped WBS.  In order to use space effectively, all items are aligned vertically.

<< An Ordinary WBS Shape >>

Ordinary WBS Shape in Eng

The right-angled lines on the left show the respective relationships between items.

Now we want to add more items. After double-clicking on where you want to add another item, this message will appear: “Which one would you like to add, or delete the line? Enter 1, 2, 3 or 4, then click ‘OK’.”

WBS Message after double-clicking

Items that you can add differ depending on which milestone, deliverable, or task you clicked on.  Since I double-clicked on a milestone, I can add any items.

Type an integer of 1 to 3 and click ‘OK’.  Since I have 6 milestones, I’ll type 1 and click ‘OK’. Milestone 2) was entered. I’ll repeat the same operation until #6.  I added Milestone 7) by mistake. To delete it, double-click on the 7). Type 4 and click ‘OK’.

Next, consider deliverables of Milestone 1) and write them.

WBS ID Auto-Update Function

By the way, there are numbers on the left side of each deliverable and task.  PMP calls them WBS ID.  1.1 means Deliverable 1 of Milestone 1, also 1.1.1 means Task 1 of Deliverable 1 of Milestone 1.

In this template, each time you add an item, all WBS ID’s are updated automatically.  It is a real pain in the neck if you have to do it by yourself. When you add an item later, you have to change all subsequent WBS ID’s.

Now, I want to add another Task for Deliverable 1. Double-click on the Task and type 3, then another Task line will be added.  Repeat this work breakdown on all the Milestones.

If you have some items that you are not sure what to type for at this moment, just make a line and leave it blank.

Use this WBS to rotate your PDCA Cycle in your project.

Lastly, type the responsible person’s name and the completion target date for each task in the light green section, then your initial WBS is completed.

Then share this WBS with your team and adjust or modify it if needed.

I use this WBS in schedule management and rotate a PDCA Cycle in my project.

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In the ‘Check’ phase, you can record each Task’s progress in this template.

Select one cell in the ‘Progress %’ section, then you’ll see a list button. You can enter your progress % by clicking the button.

Today we practiced making a WBS.

It’s not only for official projects, but also you can use a WBS in your daily work. Please try to utilize a WBS to your work with this template.

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