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Add Summary Tasks to the WBS in Primavera P6

The work-breakdown-structure (WBS) enables you to organize your Primavera P6 schedule into meaningful sections.

This article will show you how to build a WBS in Primevera P6 and how to assign tasks to different WBS levels.

Building a WBS in Primavera P6

These instructions will walk you through the steps needed to build a WBS in Primavera P6.

  1. Let’s start with a simple Primavera P6 schedule that does not yet have a WBS. Notice that none of the activites are indented, and that there are no summary tasks:

    Simple P6 schedule without a WBS.

    The name of this project is "Example Project" and its Project ID is "EX". The Project ID will become important in a few steps, since it will be the prefix of all WBS Codes in this particular project.

  2. To add a WBS, go to Project > WBS, which will take you to the WBS Layout screen:

    Simple P6 schedule without a WBS.

    This article will focus on the "Example Project", so we will click on that project in the WBS Layout to begin adding a WBS.

  3. In this example, we will add two more layers to the WBS: a phase, and a workstream. We'll begin by adding the phases. To do this, right-click on the project and choose Add, or just press the Insert key on your keyboard:

    Add a level to the WBS.

  4. After the new WBS level has been added, you should see it appear underneath the project name, like this:

    New WBS level in Primavera P6

  5. Our example project is going to have two main phases, so we'll repeat the previous step one more time so that there are two new WBS levels directly under the main project name:

    Second New WBS level in Primavera P6

  6. It's a good idea to give your new WBS level both a WBS Code and a WBS Name. Primavera P6 will assign these automatically, and it's ok to take the defaults for the WBS Code, but it's usually a good idea to pick a more descriptive name for the WBS Name. In this case, we'll change both:

    Primavera P6 WBS Code and WBS Name

    Here, we've changed the WBS Names to "Phase I" and "Phase II". For the WBS Code field, we renumbered the phases using roman numerals, so "Phase I" has a WBS Code of "EX.I", where the "EX" is the WBS Code for the overall "Example" project, and the "I" corresponds to the phase.

  7. Now that the phases of the project have been added to the WBS, we want to split each phase into a few workstreams. To add workstreams, right click on "Phase I" and choose Add. Do this twice to add two workstreams underneath the first phase of the project, and then rename them like this:

    Add a second level to the Primavera P6 WBS

    Notice how "Workstream A" and "Workstream B" are indented underneath "Phase I". This indicates that the two workstreams are children of the phase, and that the phase is a parent or summary of the two workstreams.

  8. Repeat this process to add workstreams to "Phase II":

    Primavera P6 schedule WBS with phases and workstreams.

    Notice that each phase has workstreams of the same name. In other words, there is a "Workstream A" underneath both "Phase I" and "Phase II". Even if your WBS Names repeat, notice that the WBS Codes remain unique. The first "Workstream A" is "EX.I.A" while the second one is "EX.II.A". As long as the WBS Code remains unique, your P6 schedule will be in good shape.

With the layout of the WBS complete, we can now assign activities to the different phases and workstreams. The next section of this article will cover how to do this.

Assigning Activities to the Primavera P6 WBS

Once you've laid out your WBS in Primavera P6, you can assign tasks to different levels.

  1. If you are still on the WBS tab of Primavera P6, click on the Activities tab to return to managing the tasks in your schedule:

    Primavera P6 Activities tab

    It can take some time to reload all of your activities in Primavera P6, so be patient when changing tabs.

  2. Once on the Activities tab, you'll see that all of the activities for your project are at the top and the WBS outline is at the bottom:

    Primavera P6 Activities tab showing WBS

    Because none of the activites have been assigned to a level of the WBS yet, notice that the WBS Code for all tasks is only "EX", which is the same as the Project ID. As we assign each activity to the correct level of the WBS in the following steps, these WBS Codes will update accordingly.

  3. Once on the Activities tab, you'll see that all of the activities for your project are at the top and the WBS outline is at the bottom:

    Primavera P6 Activities tab showing WBS

    Because none of the activites have been assigned to a level of the WBS yet, notice that the WBS Code for all tasks is only "EX", which is the same as the Project ID. As we assign each activity to the correct level of the WBS in the following steps, these WBS Codes will update accordingly.

  4. Let's begin by assigning the first activity to the WBS. Select "Activity 1" from the schedule, and then make sure that the General tab is selected below:

    Select a task and choose the General tab.

    On the General tab, locate the WBS selection and click the ... button to pick a different WBS level.

  5. When the Select WBS window pops up, left-click on the correct level of the WBS for the activity you are setting up. Any level of the WBS can be selected, but in this case, we want to assign "Activity 1" to "Workstream A" of "Phase I", so we'll do it like this:

    Select the correct level of the WBS.

    Once you have the correct WBS level selected, click on the Select button with the plus icon to confirm your selection.

  6. With the WBS level assigned, notice that "Activity 1" has moved underneath both "Phase I" and "Workstream A".

    Activity reassigned into the WBS.

    The WBS section of the General tab has also been updated to reflect the correct WBS assignment.

  7. Repeat the process for all remaining activities in the schedule until all activities are assigned to their correct spot in the WBS, like this:

    Primavera P6 schedule with all activities assigned to the WBS.

Last Updated: September 9, 2019