Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between WBS and Project Plan

WBS vs Project Plan

In large scale projects, it is not enough to just go at it. It is necessary to have a scientific approach in order to successfully complete the project and reign in the costs. To tools in achieving this are the project plan and work breakdown structure or WBS. The main difference between the two is the scope as a WBS covers the project in its entirety while a project plan focuses on a smaller part of a project. So a project can have a WBS that compartmentalizes it into several parts. Each of these parts would then have a project plan.

In the planning process, a WBS occurs prior to the approval of the project. It shows the scale of the project and its cost, which is important for those who are commissioning it. Once the project has been approved, it is then necessary to create the project plans. This is in order to set a realistic time table of when each part is to be completed.

The main focus of the WBS, aside from segmenting the project, is the cost. It is easier to put a price on work and materials on smaller segments than on a project as a whole. In contrast, a project plan doesn’t focus on the price of the work but on the schedule of the work and making sure that the materials are available when they are supposed to. A project plan is necessary to ensure that the segment of the project stays within the budget set by the WBS. Each delay incurs additional costs that are not part of the plan.

The WBS is a result oriented tool as each sections goal is to have the component that is needed at the upper sections. In contrast, we can say that the project plan is action oriented primarily because each step or process in the plan needs to occur within a given time period in order for the plan to be followed. If the project plan was not done correctly, the errors can cascade exponentially and needs to be corrected on the ground.


1.A WBS is a total view of the job while a project plan can
2.A WBS is necessary prior to the approval of the job while project plan is necessary for completing it
3.A WBS focuses on the budget while a project plan focuses on scheduling
4.A WBS is result oriented while a project plan is action oriented

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