One the the most under-used Project monitoring tools of every is the Work failure Structure, or WBS. For some reason, it appears to intimidate brand-new Project Managers. Yet it is nothing an ext than a listing of every little thing you have to do in a structured way. And also there is one an extremely friendly and also familiar tool that many people use, which can do this because that you. In this article, you will do it learn how to develop a WBS with a mind Map.

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Create a WBS with a mental Map

The worth of a Work failure Structure

Everyone appears to know about Gantt Charts, even if castle don’t know the name. They have come to be the’ task planning tool. Indeed, castle are virtually a symbol for project Management. This means that new Project Managers frequently rush to create a Gantt Chart. However without an initial giving enough thought to what work you must do, her Gantt Chart dangers two huge problems:

Gaps with tasks missed outPoor logic in the groping and logical flow in between tasks

The device of an option for expertise what you have to do to complete your job is the Work break down Structure. That literally does what its name suggests: it breaks your work down right into a structure.

The reason to usage a WBS before you develop your Gantt chart is focus. It permits you to focus on one point at a time: the jobs to be done. The Gantt Chart procedure puts with each other tasks, sequence and also duration. Once you have all of your tasks emerged in your WBS, you have the right to cluster them into logical groups. Building a WBS through a psychic Map makes this component especially easy. Form there, you can estimate exactly how long each job will take, and also the sources it will certainly need. And finally, you can put them right into a logical sequence.

Going directly to a Gantt graph is like starting to chef a 4 course enjoy the meal without one ingredient list or a recipe.

A Gantt chart without a WBS is like cooking a 4 course meal without ingredient perform or recipe. Click to Tweet

In an earlier article, just how to Get much better Project administration Results, I listed ten beneficial tools. If i were to pick an eleventh, it would certainly be the Work malfunction Structure.

How to produce a WBS

A common approach to developing a an easy WBS is this:

Brainstorm every task and write the onto a difficult notePlace the sticky notes top top a boardStart to cluster the notes so related jobs sit togetherRearrange the small clusters, so associated clusters space nearbyCreate headings because that each clusterContinue until your project has actually from 3 to 9 big clusters (ideally no much more than 7)

This is a ‘bottom-up’ method to creating a WBS. Because that small, an easy projects, that is perfect adequate. That is especially an excellent as a team exercise, to connect your project Team at an early stage on. It’s shortcoming is the it lacks rigour – one forgotten (or lost) sticky note leaves a void in your project.


Mind Map

Tony Buzan emphasises the value of utilizing colour, shape, images, and a selection of line-types and also fonts. His objective is primarily to usage Mind Maps because that creativity and also memory. For you, specifically if you want to produce a WBS through a mental Map, the words space what will issue most.

Mind Mapping Software

It’ll come as no surprise to you to hear the there is a growing market in mental Mapping software. There are countless vendors, each taking a different approach. But I will leave comment till after I’ve questioned how to develop a WBS through a mind map, due to the fact that that is going to be an essential way to ns distinguish competitors, because that you together a task manager.

The strength of developing a WBS through a mind Map

A Work malfunction Structure is a logical and also rigorous device for articulating your task scope. The places tasks in a reasonable hierarchy and assigns unique numbers come them. The is a great tool for rational, methodical thinkers.

A mind Map supplies a spatial metaphor to represent the relationships in between ideas: in our case, activities. It encourages you to use colour and also symbols and text and also lines. It as such appeals nicely to intuitive and also divergent thinkers, who discover a more systematic technique off-putting.

But the nice thing is that a mind Map deserve to represent precisely the same information as a WBS, maintaining all the same connection information. This method you can create any type of WBS v a mind Map. And you can do so using any kind of technology: pen and paper or software program app. You have the right to work on your own, or with your team.

The benefits of gift Messy

But, because that me, over there is one huge benefit to creating my WBS with a mind Map: it’s messy. What I favor is the Mind Maps don’t have actually rules or right lines, or addressed sequences. It’s basic to on slide in an extra element,or move a link, without feeling that you room ‘spoiling’ several of the orderly structure. This is important, because humans room seduced through beauty. A neat, tidy, reasonable WBS is compelling come us… also beautiful. This create a psychological barrier with finding faults, and also adding brand-new items. We stand up to making changes because we autumn for the planning fallacy of seeing a succinct WBS and believing it is therefore, in which method ‘right’.

I recognize you understand this is rubbish. However your mind is no as logical as you’d like to believe. So do yourself a favour and keep her planning files messy for as long as possible. This way, you keep your willingness to tinker, cut, adjust and add to them, there is no worrying that you are spoiling her lovely work. And when you produce your WBS v a mental map, this is specifically what girlfriend do. Specifically if you do no effort to ‘tidy up’ her Mind Map.

You Don’t should Tidy up her Mind Map

You don’t must tidy up her Mind Map since it is not – and never will certainly be – a paper to existing to anyone. That is a functioning tool. It is a phase on the method to producing your WBS and nothing more. Consequently, once you develop your WBS through a psychic Map, that is your WBS that counts.

The software application Tools to produce a WBS through a mind Map

So you’ve gained the principle of just how you can produce a WBS through a psychic map, but how easy execute software devices make it? Well, placed simply, there space three types of software application tool to consider:

Software the will develop WBS, either as a stand-alone function, or as component of a suite of job Management and also Project planning capabilities.The commonest example is Microsoft Project, i m sorry is a an effective project planning and also monitoring tool, which has actually WBS planning as an integral part of the tool.Mind Mapping tools that do nothing else, and simply create a mental MapAn example is straightforward Mind, however there are very many of these tools.Mind Mapping devices that export their data right into WBS format

It is the critical of these the you deserve to most easily use to produce a WBS v a mental map. What they permit you to do is produce a graphical mind map, and also then fiddle the data from her mind map right into a style that allows you to easily create a WBS. Usually, this is as a CSV (Comma be separated variable) file, that deserve to be read by a spreadsheet program prefer Excel, numbers or Sheets. Ideally, the will create standard WBS style numbering once it does so.

Here are 4 of the key players


Available for Windows and Mac

Flexibility: High

30-day complimentary Trial

Priced every licence at ‘enterprise pricing levels’

Mind Vector

Available for Mac, iOS, Android, and Browser

Flexibility: Medium

Free tier (limited intake – full functions)

Priced at ‘small user pricing levels’ through enterprise option


Available because that Windows, Mac and also Cloud

Flexibility: an extremely High

30-day totally free Trial

Priced per licence at ‘enterprise pricing levels’


Available for Windows, Linux, and also Mac

Flexibility: very High

Free tier (limited functions)

Priced at ‘small user pricing levels’

In Conclusion

This is no a complete evaluation. But, in conclusion, if you want to build your WBS v a psychic Map, there space plenty of good tools around. In the past, I have actually used pen and also paer and converted my Mind Map come a WBS through hand. Mind Vector kindly sent out me an review licence to their product and also I have appreciated using it. It has absolutely made it much much faster to put together my very own WBS with a mental Map.

Over come You…

Do you produce your WBS with a psychic Map?

If so, what tips perform you have and also what tools execute you use? have actually you used any kind of of the devices I have provided and, if so, what is your experience?

Let us recognize in the comment below.

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About the AuthorMike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project monitoring trainers in the UK. The is writer of 14 best-selling books, consisting of four about project management. He is additionally a prolific blogger and also contributor to and Project, the journal of the association for project Management. Between 1990 and also 2002, Mike to be a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering facility projects. In 2016, Mike launched