WBS is perhaps the most commonly used Project management tool. Here's how you can get more out of your WBS.
For people not having enough time for WBS - be prepared to lose time several times over for not having a well defined WBS
1. WBS is Deliverables based
-Make your WBS, deliverables (noun) based. e.g. include "Test report of module A" and not "Testing module A"
-Task list is only an extension (or next level) to the WBS.
2. Lowest level WBS elements are
3. How much to decompose?
-Deliverables are too big? modularize, decompose, top down...call experts, whatever works.
-Each WBS element should be between 1 week to 4 weeks person weeks
-Bigger elements mean less accurate estimations, smaller mean overhead in monitoring.
-You'll find some standard project deliverables such as status reports which do not follow this thumb rule, include them anyways
4. What to include?
-Include product deliverables (Code, User documentation etc)
-Include project deliverables (Quality audits reports, Monthly review reports, Weekly status reports, WBS etc)
-Include only what is necessary & sufficient to complete the project, you're probably thinking about giving extras to the client, however a better strategy is to first complete what is necessary -Make your milestones WBS based, include milestones as WBS elements
5. How to use it?
-Communicate wrt WBS elements
-Assign WBS elements to resources, or a complete WBS package to a contractor
-Make your reporting WBS based, report earned values on WBS top level packages
-Creation of WBS can be a Team building exercise
-Estimate lowest level WBS elements for accurate estimates
6. More uses
-Supply the WBS dictionary with your WBS and see yourself spending less time on Scope control -Link your WBS elements to Finance accounts
-Whatever you want to do in the project use WBS :) Risk management, Change control etc
-Illustrate your project life cycle using WBS, decompose it phase wise
7. Remember to
-Get your WBS signed off by the client/sponsor or whoever is authorized to..
-Archive your project WBS to company repository (to show off your best practices :))
Remember that a WBS is the MOST important tool in Project Management practice. Not having a WBS indicates potential disaster for the Project