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What is WBS element?

Updated May 18, 2018

1) What is WBS element?
2) What is the Tcode to get to that screen?
3) What is the need and purpose of WBS element?
4) Do we happen to work on Functional module during our implementation project?
5) In what scenario/situation we will be working on WBS?

WBS is nothing but Work Breakdown Structure. It is mainly used in Project System (PS) module. Tcode: CJ20N

For any project defined we must have at least one WBS. Within this WBS we can have networks. Networks are nothing but the series of activities. The material is used to perform the activities.

To explain in detail just consider one example:

Govt of India wants to have Roads to be built throughout the India. So Project can be defined in SAP as "Connectivity".

WBS can be roads within different states like Roads for Gujarat, Karnataka etc.. i.e. WBS Gujarat, WBS Karnataka etc.

We can define different networks for these WBS like Road Between Ahmedabad to Surat or Between Bangalore to Belgaum.

For this network, we can have many activities like Land selection, Land Preparation, Road Building, Final finishing etc.

Hemal's example was a good example. Project Systems comes into play only when the industry's business is based on projects like... Construction companies, Engineer to Order scenarios. You may not see anyone using PS module for retail business. As Hemal explained in that example, you have the main project which is broken down into WBS elements. You can use the TC CJ20N to create the project and the WBS elements. Each WBS may have multiple Networks associated and each Network may have multiple Network Activities as explained in the example by Hemal.

On the Sales Order, if your client is implementing PS module, you may have to attach the Sales Order to the WBS Element it belongs to. WBS element is nothing but a bucket where all the activities belonging to that particular part of the project are captured. In the example, WBS Gujarat will tell you how many Sales Orders were created for the Gujarat sector, how much was spent on raw materials, what's the current stock ([roject stock) available. How many Production Orders have been confirmed and how many of them are getting confirmed in the future. How many invoices have been generated or how much revenue has been generated for that particular sector. How many deliveries have been made, what deliverables are still not accomplished.

So as you can see, PS is the center stage for all the modules that are being implemented like FI/CO, SD, MM, PP in this example. You can have cost centers and work centers defined. You can also have profit centers assigned at the plant level and get reports on various selection criteria.

In a complete cycle of PS, like in reality, you initiate a project, you confirm/release the WBS/activities as per requirement, you execute the project and you close it.

One cannot initiate an activity unless it has been released by the project manager. Everything is accountable here and every dime is counted and at the end, you know how much did you spend or make on each sector (WBS). Don't get confused with the term sector here... I am using it just for the explanation purposes. :)

In one typical example, the company I was working with until not too long ago, had Deliveries from the Project (TC: CNS0). We never used VL01N. We used CNS0 to create a delivery and then used VL02N for confirming the picking quantity for the already created delivery document.

I hope this should help you at least a bit. I'm not a PS consultant so I may not know a whole lot but trying going to CJ20N and you will see a lot yourself.

PS consultants are one of the highest paid consultants. Their supply is less and so is the demand. They are expected to understand real world business processes very well and they are generally the center stage of a project.


  • 25 Jun 2008 2:47 pm Guest
    Does anyone have the answer to the following:
    How does the Projects module know what has been billed and what has not been billed?
    Is this information tracked automatically or done manually?
    Is there a linkage to the SD module?
    How does the end-to-end process for services different from that of product purchase?
  • 13 Aug 2009 6:11 pm vikash
    Hi all,
    do any body has idea hw can i back track to wbs with help of a network when i am having a document number.need quick response.
    My email id is
  • 22 May 2013 2:46 pm Guest
    Dear sir
    Can you draw the WBS work breakdown structure for the Customer Order Processing System and explain with details? and how customer order processing system run with WBS
  • 23 Jul 2013 8:49 am Guest
    WBS contradict with the MASK X, What does that mean?
  • 03 Mar 2014 3:42 pm knolworx

    Guest: Probably your project coding mask settings forbid a WBS element.