One of the most under-used Project monitoring tools of every is the Work malfunction Structure, or WBS. For some reason, it appears to intimidate brand-new Project Managers. However it is nothing much more than a listing of every little thing you need to do in a structured way. And there is one very friendly and familiar tool that many people use, which have the right to do this because that you. In this article, you will do it learn how to produce a WBS with a mental Map.

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Create a WBS v a psychic Map

The value of a Work malfunction Structure

Everyone seems to know about Gantt Charts, even if they don’t know the name. They have become the’ job planning tool. Indeed, lock are virtually a prize for task Management. This way that new Project Managers frequently rush to produce a Gantt Chart. Yet without an initial giving sufficient thought to what work you should do, your Gantt Chart risks two large problems:

Gaps with work missed outPoor reasonable in the groping and also logical flow in between tasks

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

The reason to usage a WBS before you develop your Gantt chart is focus. It enables you to emphasis on one point at a time: the tasks to it is in done. The Gantt Chart procedure puts with each other tasks, sequence and also duration. As soon as you have all of your tasks emerged in her WBS, you have the right to cluster them right into logical groups. Building a WBS through a mind Map makes this part especially easy. Kind there, you deserve to estimate just how long each job will take, and the sources it will certainly need. And also finally, you can put them into a reasonable sequence.

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

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

In an previously article, how to Get far better Project monitoring Results, I listed ten an useful tools. If ns were to select an eleventh, it would certainly be the Work break down Structure.

How to produce a WBS

A common technique to producing a simple WBS is this:

Brainstorm every task and write that onto a difficult notePlace the sticky notes ~ above a boardStart to swarm the notes so related jobs sit togetherRearrange the small clusters, so connected clusters space nearbyCreate headings for each clusterContinue till your project has from 3 come 9 large clusters (ideally no more than 7)

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


Mind Map

Tony Buzan emphasize the value of utilizing colour, shape, images, and a range of line-types and also fonts. His function is generally to usage Mind Maps because that creativity and memory. For you, especially if you desire to produce a WBS through a psychic Map, the words are what will matter most.

Mind Mapping Software

It’ll come together no surprised to you to hear the there is a thriving market in psychic Mapping software. There are numerous vendors, each acquisition a different approach. Yet I will leave comment till after I’ve disputed how to create a WBS through a psychic map, due to the fact that that is going to be crucial way to ns distinguish competitors, for you together a task manager.

The strength of creating a WBS through a mental Map

A Work break down Structure is a logical and also rigorous device for articulating your task scope. That places activities in a reasonable hierarchy and also assigns unique numbers to them. The is a great tool for rational, systematic thinkers.

A psychic Map offers a spatial an allegory to represent the relationships in between ideas: in our case, activities. It motivates you to usage colour and symbols and also text and lines. It thus appeals nicely to intuitive and also divergent thinkers, who discover a much more systematic approach off-putting.

But the nice thing is that a mind Map can represent specifically the same info as a WBS, maintaining all the same connection information. This means you deserve to create any type of WBS with a mind Map. And also you deserve to do so making use of any form of technology: pen and document or software application app. You can work on her own, or with your team.

The services of gift Messy

But, for me, over there is one big benefit to developing my WBS with a psychic Map: it’s messy. What I choose is that Mind Maps don’t have actually rules or right lines, or resolved sequences. It’s basic to slip in an extra element,or move a link, without emotion that you are ‘spoiling’ few of the orderly structure. This is important, since humans space seduced by beauty. A neat, tidy, logical WBS is compelling come us… also beautiful. This creates a psychological obstacle with recognize faults, and also adding new items. We withstand making changes because we fall for the planning fallacy of see a practiced WBS and also believing it is therefore, somehow ‘right’.

I recognize you recognize this is rubbish. But your mental is not as logical as you’d favor to believe. So carry out yourself a favour and keep your planning files messy because that as long as possible. This way, you preserve your willingness to tinker, cut, readjust and add to them, there is no worrying the you space spoiling your lovely work. And when you produce your WBS through a mind map, this is exactly what friend do. Particularly if you make 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 file to current to anyone. The is a functioning tool. The is a phase on the method to producing your WBS and also nothing more. Consequently, once you produce your WBS with a psychic Map, it is your WBS that counts.

The software Tools to develop a WBS with a mind Map

So you’ve acquired the rule of exactly how you can create a WBS v a mind map, yet how easy perform software tools make it? Well, put simply, there room three types of software tool to consider:

Software the will create WBS, either as a stand-alone function, or as component of a suite of job Management and also Project plan capabilities.The commonest example is Microsoft Project, which is a powerful project planning and monitoring tool, which has actually WBS planning as an integral component of the tool.Mind Mapping devices that perform nothing else, and also simply create a mental MapAn instance is an easy Mind, but there are really many of this tools.Mind Mapping tools that export their data into WBS format

It is the last of these that you can most easily use to produce a WBS v a mental map. What they allow you to execute is create a graphical psychic map, and then export the data from your mind map right into a format that permits you to easily create a WBS. Usually, this is as a CSV (Comma be separated variable) file, that have the right to be check out by a spreadsheet program favor Excel, numbers or Sheets. Ideally, it will develop standard WBS format numbering as soon as it does so.

Here are 4 of the main players


Available because that Windows and also Mac

Flexibility: High

30-day totally free Trial

Priced every licence in ~ ‘enterprise pricing levels’

Mind Vector

Available because that Mac, iOS, Android, and also Browser

Flexibility: Medium

Free tier (limited usage – full functions)

Priced at ‘small user pricing levels’ with enterprise option


Available for Windows, Mac and also Cloud

Flexibility: very High

30-day complimentary Trial

Priced every licence in ~ ‘enterprise pricing levels’


Available for Windows, Linux, and also Mac

Flexibility: really High

Free tier (limited functions)

Priced in ~ ‘small user pricing levels’

In Conclusion

This is no a complete evaluation. But, in conclusion, if you want to construct your WBS through a psychic Map, there space plenty of great tools around. In the past, I have actually used pen and also paer and converted mine Mind Map come a WBS through hand. Mind Vector kindly sent me an review licence to your product and also I have took pleasure in using it. That has certainly made the much quicker to put together my very own WBS with a mind Map.

Over come You…

Do you produce your WBS with a mental Map?

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

Let us recognize in the comments below.

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About the AuthorMike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is just one of the most successful and also in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, consisting of four around project management. That is also a prolific blogger and contributor come and Project, the journal of the combination for job Management. In between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful task manager, leading big project teams and also delivering facility projects. In 2016, Mike introduced