Difference Between WBS and Project Plan

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 20, 2022


Difference Between WBS and Project Plan Difference Between WBS and Project Plan

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 The phrase "project management tools" refers to many types of software that may assist people or groups in more effectively organizing and managing the activities and projects they are working on. These are not reserved exclusively for project management. Because of the many available configuration options, these tools are suitable for usage by a wide variety of teams. They contribute to the planning, collaboration, documentation, and evaluation of the many initiatives that are now underway.

WBS vs Project Plan

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) takes into consideration the whole of the project, which is the primary distinction between it and the Project Plan. On the other hand, the plan for the project only takes into consideration a tiny portion of the whole project. In its most basic form, WBS breaks the project down into its component elements. A separate strategy for the project is produced for each of these components.

The abbreviation for "work breakdown structure" is "WBS." It is the foundation of project planning and provides project managers with a tool for breaking down the larger project into more manageable chunks. In this, the work is portrayed in a hierarchical and visual format to make it easier to comprehend the job at hand. It is possible to break the project up into several smaller projects, work packages, and deliverables.

The plan for the project provides a comprehensive structure that serves as the foundation for all subsequent planning. It is a document that was created using a word processing application and has been given official authorization. Its primary function is to record planning assumptions and to make it easier for diverse stakeholders in the project to communicate with one another. In addition to that, it has images that will assist the reader in visualizing the important features.

Before the project is officially approved, a WBS is generated as part of the planning phase. It demonstrates the scope of the project as well as the cost, both of which are essential pieces of information for the individuals who are commissioning it. After the project has been given the green light, it is time to start working on the blueprints for the project. This is done to establish an accurate schedule for when each component is expected to be finished.

The breakdown of the total project cost into manageable chunks is the primary concern of the WBS. It is simpler to estimate the cost of labor and materials for a project's components than it is for the whole endeavour.

A project plan, on the other hand, does not concentrate on the cost of the job but rather on the timeline of the work and on ensuring that the resources are accessible when they are intended to be. A project plan is required to guarantee that the portion of the project will remain within the financial constraints imposed by the WBS. Each delay results in extra expenses that were not included in the original budget.

The WBS is a tool that is focused on achieving results since the objective of each part is to acquire the component that is required for the higher sections. On the other hand, we may argue that the plan for the project is action-oriented, mostly because each step or activity in the plan has to take place within a certain amount of time for the plan to be followed. If the planning for the project was not carried out properly, faults may compound exponentially and will need to be fixed on the ground.

Difference Between WBS and Project Plan in Tabular Form

Table: WBS vs Project Plan
Parameters of Comparison
Project Plan
Embraces the whole of the project.
focuses on the less significant aspects of the project.
Order of creation
Prior to the project being given the go lightly
After receiving permission to proceed with the project
Purpose of creation
Describes the scope of the project as well as its price.
For the purpose of devising a workable schedule for the production of each component.
It focuses on the finances as a whole.
It does this by concentrating on how much each individual component of the project will cost.
Kind of tool
Instrument focused on results
instrument focused on action

What is WBS?

Work Breakdown Structure is a typical productivity tool that helps make the job that needs to be done more accessible and doable. It does this by breaking the work down into smaller, more manageable chunks. It also functions as a very helpful document for managing the project since it divides the work into more manageable chunks. It is the only component that incorporates the costs, scope, and timeline of the whole project.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the division of work based on a hierarchy that is to be done by the project management team. This definition comes from the Project Management Institute (PMI). There are two categories of it: 1. Based on the Deliverables, and 2. Based on the Phases The first method is the one that is most often used and also the one that is most recommended.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) breaks the overall project down into smaller projects, work packages, and deliverables. Work packages are a component of the individual's lowest level of planning, which is the level of planning that is allocated to them. Deliverables are created by combining many work packages into a single unit, which then gives rise to the formation of partial projects, which ultimately coalesce into the final product.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is mostly used as a planning tool to assist the team in the process of planning and arranging the scope of the project along with the deliverables. It serves as a tool for tracking and managing the progress of the project. The effective design of WBS is facilitated by a wide variety of software tools. It is developed before a plan for the project.

The work breakdown structure, sometimes known as the WBS, is an essential part of the project planning process. The WBS is a tool that project managers use to break the project down into components that can be managed. It is a depiction, both visually and hierarchically, of all of the work that must be done to finish the project. The breakdown might include component projects, deliverables, and work packages, however, this is contingent on the scale of the overall project.

The most fundamental level of planning is comprised of work packages, which are collections of tasks that are handed off to various personnel. Deliverables are the product of several work packages being combined into one, and those deliverables themselves may comprise partial projects, all of which, when put together, constitute the final product of the project.

To maintain a sharp focus on the work that has to be done, a WBS does not include a listing of time components or dependencies. Developing a WBS should come before developing a detailed plan for the project since it serves as the foundation for developing an estimate of the required resources as well as a cost and time timeline. Everything that is not specified in the WBS will not be included in the deliverables of the project since it will not be considered part of its scope.

What is Project Plan?

A project plan lays out in great depth the aims and objectives of the project, as well as how they will be accomplished, the resources that will be required, and the dates and budgets involved with their completion. Additionally, it specifies the individuals who will be accountable for certain work. In most cases, it includes a statement of work, a risk strategy, a resource list, and a timetable for the project.

It plays a very significant part in the accomplishment of any project that is undertaken successfully. It is complete with all of the required information and serves as a guide for the project in every aspect. In addition to this, it elucidates each stakeholder's obligations and obligations to one another. This assists in gaining clarity and removing any potential future uncertainty that may be associated with the project.

It includes the whole of the project's scope, which encompasses deliverables, business requirements and issues, goals, and the project's most important accomplishments. The following is a list of the principal backers of the project plan:

  1. Scope 
  2. Objectives and goals
  3. Approach
  4. Resource plan 
  5. Cost plan 
  6. Projects and tasks of the project

It is the culmination of all of the time spent preparing the project, and it describes in exhaustive detail every single component of it. The effective completion of a project and its seamless execution are both helped by having a project plan that is specified. As a result, a significant amount of time is spent on the same by project managers.

Establishing a broad framework that directs all subsequent planning requires the creation of a project plan. It is a formal document that has been accepted, and it describes how the project will be carried out, monitored, and managed. Its principal function is to record planning choices and assumptions, to ease communication among project stakeholders, and to record baselines for authorized project scope, cost, and schedule. In most cases, the plan is drafted as a text document with some illustrations included to help the reader better understand important details.

It is a document that details the plan for the project that is being worked on. It denotes a collection of actions that need to be completed, together with an assessment of the amount of time needed and the relationships between the tasks.

The words "project plan" and "project management plan" are used by a significant number of individuals. However, we may discern between a project plan and a project management plan.

Even though it is a phrase that is often used, "project plan" is not specified anywhere in the PMBOK. It is more of an unofficial word for a plan for any sort of project or a shortened name for the project management plan.

Main Differences Between WBS and Project Plan in Points

  • Taking a Break from Work Structure, in its most fundamental sense, is concerned with the project in its whole and breaks the project down into a variety of distinct elements. On the other hand, the strategy for the project provides exhaustive information about each of these components.
  • Developing a WBS comes before developing a project plan. On the other hand, a project plan is always developed after the WBS has been produced and received approval.
  • A WBS will display the scope and cost of the whole project, while a project plan will detail the scope and cost of each component of the project.
  • The WBS provides the budget for the whole project, and the project plan assists in ensuring that each portion complies with the budget provided for the whole project.
  • A WBS is a tool that focuses on the results, while a project plan concentrates on the actions.
  • A work breakdown structure, often known as a WBS, may be used to section off various aspects of a project. When that step is complete, separate project plans will be developed for each of these individual components.
  • A WBS looks at the endeavor as a whole, in contrast to a project plan, which concentrates on one particular aspect of the project.
  • Even if it could resemble an organizational chart or even a critical path structure, the work breakdown structure (WBS) is still an essential component of the overall plan.


Both the work breakdown structure (WBS) and the project plan contribute to providing a scientific approach, which helps in making the project successful and more cost-effective. These tools are a very important component in the overall effective management of the project. There are notable distinctions between the two, even though they are often confused with one another for no good reason.

When developing a WBS, the objective of each part is to include the component that is required for the higher sections. Every step of the procedure outlined in a project plan must be completed within the allotted amount of time, and if any of those steps are skipped or completed incorrectly, the project will suffer significant setbacks. The WBS's primary concentration is on the outcomes, while the project plan is concerned with the activities.

As was seen in the preceding discussion, the work breakdown structure, the project schedule, and the project plan are all separate management tools that do not often relate to the same idea. When referring to WBS, project plan, or project schedule, however, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page since none of these phrases has a single, universal meaning. It's a cliche, but it bears repeating: Effective communication is essential to the completion of a project.


  • https://stumejournals.com/journals/sbs/2018/2/87
  • https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-0947-9_11


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"Difference Between WBS and Project Plan." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-wbs-and-project-plan-458>.

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