This template was built with Coda, the all-in-one platform that blends the flexibility of docs, structure of spreadsheets, power of applications, and intelligence of AI.
Play with the template below or copy the doc to save your edits.
Work packages are mini-projects within a larger project. They're the core building blocks that work together to reach milestones, deadlines, and ultimately a finished product.
We created a project management work package template that you can copy, edit, and share for free.
👉 Get started with this work package template.
What is a work package?
Work packages are a key component to the work breakdown structure (WBS), which the describes as "a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables." In layman's terms, when you do WBS, you take your project and break it down into phases. Then, you . Finally, you break the project milestones down into work packages, which consist of related activities. Keep in mind that each WBS component may go by different names in your organization.
Each WBS component should have a label. You might label the first phase "1," then the first milestone "1.1," and the first work package as "1.1.1."
What is a work package template?
A work package template is a document you can replicate to create consistent, comprehensive work packages across a single project.
Depending on the project scope, you might be planning many work packages. Using a framework that's quick and easy to replicate, edit, and share will help you maintain consistency.
A work package should conform to one central outcome, while its activities should consist of a verb leading to that outcome.
If, for instance, the work package is to make lunch, its activities may be:
cut the sandwich into triangles
Because they're tied to specific outcomes, each work package should have one person that owns the result of that outcome and its constituent activities.
What is included in a project work package template?
A good work package template provides more than just a place to list tasks and desired outcomes. It should be a collaborative source of truth that the whole team can reference and contribute to in real-time.
Here are a few features to look out for:
Work package label
Each work package should be labeled in the larger WBS structure. The label will indicate which phase or milestone the work package is a part of and where it sits within the overall workflow of the project.
A team will often need to juggle multiple work packages at once, so a work package template should have a prioritization system. In our template, we have three levels: high, medium, and low.
Timeline and status
Work package templates should have an easy way to see when a work package should start, how long it will take to complete, and its status (e.g., open, in progress, done).
Projects that use WBS and work packages usually have large, multi-disciplinary teams. A good work package template will take this into account and provide opportunities for collaboration, such as space for comments, approval trackers, and clear roles and responsibilities.
Our template allows you to define owners of work packages and activities, a section for feedback, and overall project information like project owner and when the work packages were edited last.
Each work package is made up of a group of related activities. The work package template should allow you to quickly create this list of activities and assign activity owners. It’s important to include a short description of the activity and its assigned work package.
Finally, a good work package template will provide an easy way to visualize all this information without having to wade through endless spreadsheets. Our template provides a Gantt chart visualization that can provide a quick reference for all project team members.
Why are work packages so important in project management?
Work packages are easy-to-understand components of a larger project that make complex project planning procedures more manageable. Work packages are treated like mini-projects, enabling a project manager to plan a project bit by bit, package by package.
Easier scheduling and better timeline estimates.
By breaking down the larger project schedule into mini-project schedules, you can move units of work around in accordance with the necessary timeline and get more accurate, realistic estimates for how long a phase or deliverable might take.
For example, each work package could live in a Gantt chart, providing an immediate visual overview of how the project will progress. This representation of the smallest denomination of work will help you manage and estimate project timelines.
Clear overview of deliverables.
Each work package should correlate with a specific deliverable. Once all work packages are defined, you will have a master list of deliverables tied to other related work packages, milestones, and phases.
Greater control of tasks and dependencies.
When you create a new work package, you bound a group of related activities into one package. This makes it easier to plan each activity and task dependency because you're considering a specific set of tasks, and not every task in the entire project.
Transparent communication with stakeholders.
A core component of transparent communication is the WBS dictionary. This is a document that defines each WBS component and is linked to from a central location,
Clear definitions about each component allow the entire project team, from the coordinator to C-level exec, to collaborate with the same context.
👉 Get started with this work package template.
Copy this work package template and start using it for free with your team. Once you copy this template, all the data you add to your various work packages and work package activities will be saved to your Coda account.
How to create a work breakdown structure with Coda's work package template.
Step 1: Add project details and work packages
On the page, you can customize the work package description at the top of the page. You’ll see a section to add the project owner, project name, and more. This information is useful for your teammates and project stakeholders to understand what the project is all about. Below this metadata are the main tables of this work package template. Clicking the Add Work Package button adds a new row to the table where you can fill out details about the work package like Priority, Owner, Status, and more. If a work package has specific activities you’d like associated with the work package, click the Add Work Package Activity button and select the associated work package in the table.
Step 2: View details about each work package
There are subpages within the page like , , and . You can add as many subpages as you want. These subpages give you the full detail about each individual work package. For instance, if you go to the top of , you can select the work package and the rest of the page gets filtered automatically. On this page, the work package is selected. The detailed layout shows all the info associated with this work package as well as any work package activities (if any) at the bottom of the page.
Step 3: Visualize work packages on a Gantt chart or project timeline
Since each work package in the table has a Start Date and Est. Duration, you can view the work packages on a timeline or Gantt chart in the page. This allows you to visualize the schedule of all your work packages in one place. As you change the dates or priority of each work package, you’ll see the Gantt chart update as well.
Work package template FAQs
What is a work package in project management?
A work package is a group of related activities that, once completed, lead to a specific outcome. Work packages are the smallest component of a work breakdown structure and can be thought of as mini-projects within the larger project.
How often are work packages updated?
Work packages are updated . Because they need to adapt to the realities of the ongoing project, you may need to change ownership, end dates, or its constituent activities. For this reason, you should prioritize using a document tool that's .
What are the benefits of using work packages?
Work packages allow you to break down the larger project into mini-projects that are much more manageable. These mini-projects make it easier to:
Schedule and estimate timelines Gain an overview of deliverables Clearly communicate among project team members.
A few of the 40,000+ teams that run on Coda.
Coda is an all-in-one platform that blends the flexibility of docs, structure of spreadsheets, power of applications, and intelligence of AI.
Copy this doc to get started