Secrets to Mastering the WBS in Real World Projects

PM WORLD Book Review 

pmwj25-aug2014-Freeland-IMAGE1 BOOKBook Title:  Secrets to Mastering the WBS in Real World Projects
Author:  Liliana Buchtik
Publisher:  Project Management Institute
List Price:   US$ 39.95
Format:  soft cover; 207 pages
Publication Date:   2013
ISBN: 978-1-62825-033-6
Reviewer:      Newton Freeland
Review Date:              March 2014

Introduction to the Book

Mastering the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in Real World Projects is an excellent presentation of theory as well as practical application. The author illustrates key concepts through good and bad examples.

The book includes key definitions, options for structuring the WBS, various software applications for WBS development and WBS integration with other tools such as project schedule and costs.

Key concepts developed by the author include:

  • WBS defines scope
  • Tasks versus Deliverables
  • The top 20 benefits of using a WBS

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is organized to benefit both a new Project Manager who has not considered the value of using a WBS as well as the seasoned project manager who needs to be exposed to new ideas about the WBS development and applications.

Key topics include defining the WBS, clearing up confusions about the WBS, understanding and mastering its use, software tool discussion, integration with other processes, etc.

Highlights: What’s New in this Book

The concept of defining scope with the WBS was not new but the development was very profound. That supported what amounts to a major change since 1987 by redefining the WBS to address deliverables instead of tasks. The author reports that both deliverables and tasks are appropriate in the project schedule but only deliverables are addressed in the WBS.


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About the Reviewer

pmwj25-aug2014-Freeland-IMAGE2 REVIEWERButch Freelandflag-usa

North Texas, USA

Newton (Butch) Freeland’s background includes US Naval Flight Officer – E-2C operations and T&E, Airborne systems test, systems engineering, business development, international border security and Project management for the past 28 years. Systems have included UAV, E- 2C, SATCOM, Austrailian P-3 weapons upgrade, SeaVue radar, Ukraine border security, and DEA aircraft sensor and communications modifications.

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Dallas Chapter – www.pmidallas.org). Authors and publishers provide books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI members can keep the books as well as receive PDUs for PMP recertification when their book reviews are published.  PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.  If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].