The OBS provides an organizational perspective of the project rather than a task-based perspective. By combining the OBS with the WBS you can be confident that all components (scope) of the project are allocated to a responsible party.
A bit of background/contextPMBOK seventh edition describes the common artefacts used in project management including plans, logs and registers and hierarchy charts. It lists 5 hierarchy charts:
- Organizational Breakdown Structure,
- Product Breakdown Structure,
- Resource Breakdown Structure,
- Risk Breakdown Structure and
- Work Breakdown Structure.
The PMBOK defines the Organizational Breakdown Structure as
"a hierarchical representation of the project organization, which illustrates the relationship between project activities and the organizational units that will perform those activities." (PMBOK 7 ed pg 187).
Is an Organizational Breakdown Structure the same as a company org chart?No. An Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) is specific to a project, while a company org chart reflects the overall organizational structure of the business. The OBS focuses on the departments or groups that will carry out project tasks, whereas an org chart is focused on job titles and reporting structures in general. As Lock explains the "OBS focus is not on people and their individual names and job titles but is instead directed to the project functions they perform or represent."
The contents of the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) template
Field Description and Tips to Complete
- Project number
- Project name
- Project manager
Responsible Person or Group
Establish who or which group is accountable for accomplishing the WBS element. The OBS assigs all of the WBS components, resources needed, and costs related to responsible organizational units. In a smaller project, this may be a person; in bigger projects, it could be a team leader managing their team or even an existing functional organization handling these tasks.
The OBS ID is the unique identifier for each breakdown element. It will be used to link the WBS elements, resources and costs to their responsible organization unit.
Enter the activity's or task's unique identifier from the WBS so that you can trace it back to the WBS and check that all WBS elements are accounted for in the OBS.
WBS Activity, Task, or Sub-Task
Enter the description or title of the WBS activity, task or sub-task(s) that the person or group are responsible for. It will help if you use consistent titles/descriptions across your project documents. In other words, make sure the activity description on the OBS matches the one on the WBS. This combined with the WBS ID will ensure you can trace activities across your project documents.
Document what physical resources (personnel, facilities, equipment, software) are needed.
Estimated (E) or Actual (A) Cost
Download the template!
Excel 97 - 2003 download - Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) template (.xls)
Excel download - Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) template (.xlsx)
OpenDocument Spreadsheet download - Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) template (.ods)
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