20+ Free Work Breakdown Structure Templates (Word / Excel / PDF)

By April 11, 2022Business

A work breakdown structure template is an important document used by the companies or organizations when they start a project. They use it to keep entire project organized so that everyone involved to be able to carry it out without a hitch. In simple words, WBS systemizes the work of the team into sections so that it becomes easier to manage.

Furthermore, the whole project team makes the work breakdown structure by establishing the most essential deliverables. After that, break down those deliverables into smaller, more manageable parts and sub-deliverables. Then, these smaller parts, until each team member can be made in charge of it, further divided. The tasks of each member are specified at the very bottom. This way, when the project begins, the work begins from the very bottom and slowly working its way to the top until the project gets completed.

Types of work breakdown structures:

There are different types of work breakdown structures that are created as per the main focus of the project. A lot of different types can be made as WBS is basically diagrams or easily understood maps of illustrations for a project. Let us discuss below the different types of WBS templates;

Verb oriented work breakdown structure

This is an action-oriented type of WBS that develops the project work deliverables in terms of the actions that are required to be done so that the deliverables can be generated. A verb is the first word used in every element of this type of WBS.

Noun oriented work breakdown structure

This is an element oriented type of WBS in which the project work deliverables are outlined in terms of the functional or physical elements of the project. They are generally nouns like module, automobile engine, antenna, etc. In addition to this, this type is also known as a Product Breakdown Structure or PBS as nouns are generally parts of the products in the WBS.

Time phased work breakdown structure

This is a time oriented type of WBS. Usually, it is used on projects that would require a lot of time. Projects that use this type of WBS are divided into major phases instead of tasks and actions. Phases, in this type, are planned in detail. Then, according to ones that are most current, dealt with one at a time.

Some other types of work breakdown structures are;

  • Organization WBS
  • Geographical WBS
  • Cost WBS
  • Profit center WBS

These types are also used but not used as much as the others. They pay attention on the organization, location and the budget, costs or profits of the entire project.

Important elements of a work breakdown structure:

Here are the most important elements of a work breakdown structure;

The tasks of each member of the project team

To simplify all the information and activities required to complete a project into a precise collection of tasks is the primary reason for making a WBS. The project manager would have an easier time to oversee how the tasks are being done and for this, the tasks have to be specified. Each task should be specific, independent, and measurable. They must have their own limits that are clearly explained.

Any costs required for the accomplishment of the project

Costs can be assigned to each of those tasks as the tasks you include would have to be measurable. A WBS would enable the project manager to effectively distribute the budget of the project as per the costs that are required to accomplish all the tasks. It is essential to bear in mind that the total of combined task costs shouldn’t exceed the total cost of the project.

In detail, the entire schedule of the project

In the WBS, you must include the schedule for the project and project tasks. This is essential so that the project manager can keep record of the project’s completion depending on the schedule. Furthermore, the project tasks should have clearly outlined limits so the project manager can see how the project is progressing. They can see it by checking which of the tasks have already been completed. Since the tasks are measurable so the project manager should also check the percentage of completion of each individual task.

The whole scope of the project

The scope of the project is everything that is included in the accomplishment of the whole project. The project should be explained the scope of the project before making WBS so that the project can be completed without any having to do any extra work. Creating a WBS would assist in developing the whole scope of the project as you would be creating a list of all the tasks required for its completion.

The purpose of the entire project

If at the end the objectives or purpose of the project has been fulfilled then a project can be deemed successful. In a WBS, all the tasks have to fulfill a part of the overall function of the project. When the task is able to achieve its individual function, it can only be deemed complete. Hence, the project is already fully functional when all tasks have been completed.

Roles and responsibilities

Finally, without the efforts of the people involved in the project, the tasks in a WBS cannot be done. The WBS must include all the roles and responsibilities expected from each team member or unit allocated to a certain task. Assigning these responsibilities is the responsibility of project manager. In addition to this, to ensure that all the tasks are performed time, within the budget and at the end of it, the project is fully functional, the task manager is responsible for them.


In conclusion, a work breakdown structure template is basically a visual definition of the entire project scope that break down it into manageable parts. These manageable parts would be more understandable to all the members of the project team. Every level of a WBS would provide enough information and more details.