WBS Dictionary

What Is a WBS Dictionary?

The WBS dictionary is a project management document that provides detailed information about each component in the work breakdown structure (WBS). It’s an important part of the scope management plan which is a subsidiary of the project management plan.

The WBS dictionary template provided below is a somewhat comprehensive one. It captures information regarding the WBS code and the accounting code, the activity name and the work description, the activity predecessor, successor and the dependencies. It captures the resource requirements, assignments, assumptions and constraints, the due date, acceptance criteria, cost estimates and the estimated level of effort.

Along with the approved project scope statement and the work breakdown structure, the WBS dictionary is a part of the scope baseline. Once approved, it can be changed only through formal change control procedures. As such, it’s a useful tool for monitoring and controlling scope, cost and schedule.

WBS Dictionary Template

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WBS Dictionary Template - Word


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WBS Dictionary Template - PDF


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Who Creates the WBS Dictionary?

The WBS dictionary is created by the project manager. Like the work breakdown structure, the WBS dictionary should be generated with considerable input from the project team members.

What Are the Inputs?

To construct the WBS dictionary, seek input from the following sources: work breakdown structure, cost management plan, scope management plan, human resource management plan, schedule management plan, quality management plan, the enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets.

How Is It used?

The WBS dictionary is an important project management tool. It takes considerable time to construct; however, the benefits are certainly worth it.

First and foremost, the WBS dictionary is the repository the information needed to estimate project cost, calculate the resource requirements, build an estimated schedule and define the project scope. As such, it’s an invaluable tool for planning.

The value of the WBS doesn’t end there. Because it’s a part of the scope baseline, it’s also an important tool for monitoring and controlling project scope.

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