Keep asking what

WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure, but it is tempting just to call it what it is. Why? The WBS outlines what you and your team need to do to achieve the agreed-upon project scope. It is easy to get lost in the details of who, what and how. All important questions. A properly designed WBS will allow you to complete the analysis and discussion to answer these questions. But first, please pay attention to what.
To be successful, you must first identify the major things that must happen. These big things are called deliverables. Consider how you are phrasing the deliverables. It is easier to see what must happen before something called Website Design can be created and completed. Compare Tool Selection and Research Tools. The first is a clear indication that a tool was selected. Research Tools can be more flexible. It might end in a report. However, it could just end when time and money are exhausted.

Your goal is to work together with your team to define the scope, whether it’s a product or service, and to identify the activities required to achieve that scope. The “what” question is a good way to get your team to ask the question: “What makes Tool Selection complete?” You’re not looking for tasks or steps, but elements that must be present or completed on the path to Tool Selection. These are the sub-deliverables.
You might hear from your team that you need Tool Requirements or a Request for Proposal. You then work with your team and determine “What makes it true that there are Tool requirements?” What makes it true is that there is a Request For Proposal. You will keep asking “what” questions until you have nothing to answer. Perhaps Tool Requirements is sufficient for your team. Or maybe not. You might find that there are two types of Tool Technical Requirements. These together make it true that we have tool requirements. Continue on until you have a complete work package. You can give a work package to someone and they will be able to use it. They will be able to identify what they need in order to complete their work. You can have different work packages at different levels. Your WBS does NOT need to be broken down into the same number levels for every major deliverable. Once you have identified the what, you can move on to the next step.
For more help in creating your WBS, be sure to check out: