What is the WBS dictionary in Project Management

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Dec 15, 2022

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A WBS dictionary is an addition to your WBS that gives detailed information about each component. It's one of the three things that support project scope management in your project. The other two are a project scope statement and a work breakdown structure (WBS).

These three components will give you a starting point for the scope of your project. If you don't have a project scope baseline, you can't measure performance well, which could cause your project to go over time and budget.

Let's talk about a WBS dictionary, making one, and the best ways to do it right. When making a WBS dictionary, software like ProjectManager that helps with project management can be a big help.

What Is A WBS Dictionary & How Does The Tool Help You To Manage Project Scope?

The work breakdown structure's tasks, activities, and outputs are documented in a WBS dictionary. The content consists of the project's scope, milestones, and in some cases, the resources, dates, cost, and quantity.

Each activity on the WBS can be defined, and the steps needed to complete them to complete the project can be outlined in detail using the WBS vocabulary. The document includes work packages detailing the activities at hand and control accounts that prioritize the project's intended goals, estimated costs, and actual expenditures.

The WBS dictionary does not have particularly lengthy definitions, nevertheless. They're like an abbreviated job description. Your scope's tripod now has a baseline of one foot. In addition to the WBS dictionary, the other two legs of the stool are the project's overall scope statement and the WBS itself, which you are now developing. All three are necessary for tracking and measuring the overall extent of a project.


What Is a WBS Dictionary & Why Is It Important?

There isn't enough room to go into detail for each step of a work breakdown structure because it's a visual tool. This information would make the WBS more challenging to read and use. The WBS dictionary's goal is to enrich the WBS by providing more information and making it more accessible.

That's why, in work breakdown structures, each step is labelled and usually numbered. The WBS glossary explains each labelled phase and its function in more in-depth. As a result, team members that consult the WBS dictionary gain a more in-depth knowledge of what must be done to finish the project successfully.

One can also use the WBS dictionary to ensure that the project satisfies whatever regulatory or compliance issues govern the job. In addition, it can check if the project's outputs are up to par in terms of quality. A WBS dictionary can help you finish your project right the first time, saving you time and money.


Who Creates and Develops the WBS Dictionary?

The project manager creates the WBS dictionary, but it is not made in isolation. The project manager will organize the tasks needed to fill it out and ensure the WBS dictionary is done correctly. They will also talk to other people and ask for their help to make sure the descriptions are thorough and complete.

While the project manager is coordinating the gathering of the information that will define and guide the steps on the WBS, they are gathering information from many different places. For example, they will talk to experts in the field to ensure they answer all questions about the task correctly and cover all of them. 

The people on the team are also great resources. These people were chosen to work on the project because of their skills, knowledge, and experience. They are essential because their real-world experience will give you a view you might not get from other sources.



In the end, WBS dictionaries are not passive tools. You must use them throughout your project to communicate the scope to stakeholders and an ongoing management task to ensure that the scope isn't slipping out of control. They're an essential part of the project planning process; having one for your next project could be helpful. Candidates interested in project management can enrol in the PMP Certification Course by visiting the StarAgile website.


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