Explaining Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to an 8 year kid

Explaining Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to an 8 year kid

Some days back while I was attending an online meeting I said to my colleagues “we should have a clear work breakdown structure to plan the project precisely.” Immediately after the meeting the 24/7 cctv of our house, my kid, asked me “Dadda what is work breakdown? As he could not recollect the complete sentence. He knew breakdown is related to something failing or something not good and so he again asked me “is your work failing?” - Innocent right. The challenge was to explain him the term that probably many of us also do not understand and use it to our advantage. However, I tried to explain him with below example.

Alright, imagine you have a big project to build a treehouse in your school. A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is like making a list of all the smaller tasks or steps you need to finish building your treehouse.

Let's break it down:

Overall Project (Treehouse):

Think of this as your big goal. You want to build a cool treehouse for your school project.

Major Parts:

Divide the work for your treehouse into major parts. For example:

  1. Treehouse Base

  2. Walls and Roof

  3. Treehouse Decorations

Tasks within Each Major Part:

Now, think about what you need to do for each major part. Divide it down even more. For example, for the "Treehouse Base," you might have to:

1.1 Gather cardboard or thermocol

1.2 Measure and cut the cardboard or thermocol

1.3 Build the Base and paste them

Even Smaller Steps:

Break down each of these tasks into smaller steps. For "Build the Base," you might have to:

1.3.1 Draw a rough outline on sheet of paper

1.3.2 Measure, cut and place support beams

1.3.3 Attach everything on the base

Putting it Together:

Imagine you have a list that looks like this:

This is your Work Breakdown Structure! It helps you see all the little things you need to do to build your treehouse. It's like making a plan to guide you through the project step by step. Just like how you divide big tasks into smaller ones, a WBS helps me organize and understand everything I need to do in my project.

He understood the example and then there were more questions bombarded on me that evening.