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Definition of Quality Management -- it is a method for ensuring that all the activities necessary to design, develop and implement a product or service are effective and efficient with respect to the system and its performance. It is also a principle set by the company to endure the continuous advocacy of quality services and products, or the further improvement of it.

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Group #9Scott Gatherum, Courtney, Murray Pratt, Mike Weathers , Eddy Yujra

Work Breakdown Structure

orginal text on http://www.freequality.orgIntroduction

      A work breakdown structure is a results-oriented planning tool that simply organizes all the work of a project.  Work breakdown structures are usually portrayed graphically in a hierarchical tree; however, it can also be displayed in outline form with lists of categories and tasks.

      Work breakdown structures enable the user to physically diagram and group elements of a project that encompass the entire scope of the project.  The structure allows the user to break down a large project into descending, detailed levels.  Each detailed level outlines the project’s work, but not the work itself.

How to use Work Breakdown Structures

      In planning large projects, it is common for a person to get overwhelmed and frustrated with all of the tasks which are involved in the process.  Even on smaller projects, it is difficult to comprehend every detail which will take place over a certain period of time and by a number of different people.  Work breakdown structures can help simplify projects in these situations.  Work breakdown structures follow these five simple steps:

1.      To begin a work breakdown structure, start with the broadest area of detail to create a clear goal of what needs to be accomplished.  Beginning with correct goals helps keep the work on the schedule and maintains a clear focus on what needs to be accomplished.         

2.      Assemble a team which will help you manage differing areas of the project.  Psychologists say that our brains can normally comprehend 7-9 items at one time; therefore, assembling a team to help manage a large project is critical.  In choosing a team, gather ‘decision makers’ and ‘action planners’ who posses the knowledge to know what needs to be accomplished and understand in which order tasks need to be completed.

3.      Break down the project into organized divisions by generating major work breakdown structure headings.  These headings represent the broadest areas to accomplish.  Begin by brainstorming ideas and major headings for the various paths involved in the work breakdown structure.  It is a good idea to write these headings on cards so that they can be seen and the broadest level of detail emerges.  The cards give you flexibility to move ideas around.  The cards also help open up the secondary level of the breakdown structure and keep it from being to narrow.  Some cards will need to be adjusted and removed until the breakdown structure is completed and looks something like the following:


4.      Complete the work under each major heading or path (level 2).  With the goal statement clearly in mind, ask yourself at each level, “what needs to happen, be addressed, or be resolved.”  Index cards are also useful to fill in levels of detail as you continue down each pathway until all tasks are completed.

5.      Review the work breakdown structure to ensure logical order and completion.  At each level, check the logical order and flow.  Begin with the most specific details and move to the general by asking the question, “Will these actions lead to these results?”  Then reverse the direction by beginning with the general details and moving to the most specific.  In this step, ask the question, “Do I really need to do this task in order to accomplish these results?”

Example of a Work Breakdown Structure

You have been selected by the president of the company to coordinate the company’s Christmas Banquet this year.  In order to create an effective WBS, follow the steps mentioned above.

1.      Plan an effective banquet in which all employees of company can enjoy a nice dinner, gain company motivation, and associate with fellow co-workers.

2.      Choose effective team members which have knowledge about differing areas of planning a banquet dinner, planning parties, or other company functions.

3.      Create and organize major headings, which are pathways to follow in accomplishing the overall project.  Write the headings on cards as follows:

Create an Effective Banquet



4.      Complete the tasks under each major heading.  Ask yourself these questions at each level, “What needs to happen, be addressed, or be resolved?”  Create additional index cards to fill in the levels of detail as you continue down each pathway until the tasks are all completed.  Complete the cards as shown:   

   NOTE: On each card, it is helpful to write out specific details.

Create an Effective Banquet


5.      Review the WBS to ensure logical order and flow. Begin with the specific detail and move toward the more general detail.  At each card ask, “Will this action lead to a successful company banquet?”  Then, begin with the more general details and work toward the more specific, asking, “In order to accomplish a successful company banquet, do I really need to do this task?”

      Following these steps in the work breakdown structure will greatly help in this situation of planning a large company banquet.  Using work breakdown structures help simplify the project and distribute the work load more evenly, creating an effective plan to accomplish sizable projects.   

More Information on Work Breakdown Structure

     The following resources are excellent guides for more information on work breakdown structure.

-Effective Work Breakdown Structures, Gregory T. Haugan, 2002

-Nuts and Bolts Series 1: How to Build a Work Breakdown Structure, Carl L. Pritchard,


-Memory Jogger Plus + Featuring the Seven Management and Planning Tools, Michael 

         Brassard, 1996

-The Cost Engineering Journal  2003


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