Project Breakdown Structures
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Project Breakdown Structures

Master the Hierarchy that Simplifies your Projects

About the Book

Unlock the Power of Hierarchies in Project Management.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the complexity of your projects? Do you wish there was a more straightforward way to manage and organise every detail?

"Project Breakdown Structures" is your guide to mastering the art of hierarchical information structures in project management.

In this insightful and practical book, you'll explore the fascinating world of tree structures and categorization schemes, discovering how to leverage their unique properties to enhance your project management skills. From the immutable precision of Product Breakdown Structures to the flexible adaptability of Work Breakdown Structures, you'll learn how to apply these powerful tools to create clear, manageable, and successful project plans.

Author and project management expert Adam Russell shares his experiences and investigations into the science behind these structures, debunking myths and revealing the untapped potential of hierarchical information. Drawing on years of experience and rich historical insights, this book provides you with the following:

  • In-depth Explanations: Understand the fundamental differences and similarities between tree structures and categorization schemes.
  • Practical Applications: Learn how to implement these structures in real-world projects, enhancing efficiency and clarity.
  • Expert Insights: Gain valuable knowledge from a seasoned project management professional who offers tips and strategies you won't find anywhere else.
  • Engaging Narratives: Enjoy a compelling journey through the evolution of hierarchical structures from ancient systems to modern-day applications.
  • And much, much more ...

Whether you're a seasoned project manager or just starting, "Project Breakdown Structures" is essential to your professional library. Transform the way you approach projects and discover the hidden power of hierarchies. 

About the Author

Adam Russell
Adam Russell

Adam writes about project management on his blog “Adam On Projects” and in his books and other content at He is also an expert in applying ChatGPT to project environments and has written several books on ChatGPT.

Adam coaches and mentors other project managers, and consults on various projects around the world.

Adam Russell has successfully delivered software development, software package, and systems integration projects for nearly 40 years, using both Agile and traditional approaches.

Adam started as a software developer, and then moved into pre-sales technical support when the IBM PC launched. He launched his project management career after he helped to close a significant government deal. The head of projects said: “You helped sell it. Now, you can deliver it”.

Since then, Adam has worked for companies ranging from 1-person startups to global tier-1 vendors and customer organisations in roles ranging from hands-on project manager through to General Manager of Systems Integration.

In those roles, Adam has been responsible for delivering hundreds of projects, ranging in budget from $5k up to over $100m. Adam also volunteers his time and skills with non-profit organisations.

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Table of Contents

    • Notes about this version
    • Introduction
    Part 1 - The Breakdown Structure Landscape
    • 01 - Breakdown Structures Introduction
      • Breakdown Structures in Projects
      • Issues with the Breakdown Structure Narrative
      • Projects as Information Management Environments
      • The Idea of the Semantic Project
      • The Generic Applicability of Breakdown Structures
      • The Semantic Project and Artificial Intelligence
    • 02 - The Breakdown of the Breakdown
      • Disorganised and Discombobulated
        • The parlous state of breakdown process guidance
        • the Change-up from Work to Deliverables-oriented
        • An Each-way Bet or a Shoddy Pivot?
        • Redefining the term “work” creates confusion.
        • Work has no inherent structure.
        • We have a fuzzy understanding on what we are “breaking down”
        • Dematerialisation makes this situation even worse
        • The confusion echos through the years
      • What ooes “Deliverables-oriented” actually mean?
      • A Conflation of Structures
      • The Work Breakdown Structure is all about work.
        • The Bottom Line
    • 04 - The Structure of Breakdown
      • What is the “stuff” we break down?
      • How can we determine the structure?
      • The Bottom Line
    • 04 - The Process of Breakdown
      • Conceptual Models for Decomposition and Aggregation
      • Lumping and Splitting
      • Breakdown is not about estimation; it’s about problem-solving
      • How Ontology can provide Cleaving Frames
        • What is Ontology?
        • Ontology Relations
      • Natural over Arbitrary Breakdown
        • Examples of Arbitrary and Natural Breakdown
        • Arbitrary Not Bad, Just Distinct
        • The Structure comes from either Arbitrary or Natural Relationships.
      • We can use patterns and Templates (with care).
      • The Bottom Line
    • 05 - Tree and Category Characteristics
      • Tree Structure Basics
      • A WBS Hierarchy is a Tree
        • The Bottom Line
      • Category Structure Basics
        • Principles of Categorisation
        • Ranganathan’s Faceted Classification
        • Application to Project Management
      • Information Tool Basics
        • MECE
      • Open or Closed Structures
        • Example of Open and Closed Structures
      • Embedded or Unembedded Structures
        • Other Tools
    Part 2 - Breakdown Structure Reference
      • The New WBS
        • WBS is a Secondary Structure
        • WBS is a Lagging Structure
        • WBS is Bottom-up
        • WBS is about Work
    • 07 – Breakdown Structures Reference
      • A Summary of Breakdown Structures
      • The Rad Breakdown Bases
      • Breakdown Structures Reference
    Part 3 - Breakdown Structures in Practice
    • 08 – Putting Breakdown Structures into Practice
      • Operational Integration
        • A Solution Concept Diagram Reporting Model
        • Work Breakdown Structure Generation
    • 11 – Breakdown Structures Tools
      • Tools and Toolsets for Breakdown Structures
        • Excel Addins: TreeWiz and TableWiz
    • 13 – ChatGPT and Breakdown Structures
      • Using ChatGPT in Breakdown Structures Detail
    • More from Adam Russell
    • About the Author
      • Life Summary
      • Career Summary
    • Copyright

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