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MIL-STD-881A - Work Breakdown Structures for Defense Materiel Items

Keywords defense materiel work breakdown Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
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military standard
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MIL-STD-881/MIL-STD-881A on Work Breakdown Structure is one of the most damaging standards ever issued. By requiring the use of a "standardised" template Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for each of eight different types of project, MIL-STD-881 defeated the intent and violated the concept of a WBS as it was first conceived by the U.S. Navy, and directed in its place a structure which could not be an effective structure for definition of (internal and deliverable) products and services, budgeting, scheduling, allocation of responsibilities for their realisation, risk analysis, measurement, reporting and control. It left in its place a vacuum with respect to the above, or alternatively, the need to run "two sets of books". However, many organisations, under duress or through ignorance, followed the standard and paid a very heavy price.

A copy of the standard is included here for historical relevance only, with the caution that the content, with the exception of the scope definitions of individual elements, is largely ill-conceived and dangerous with respect to achievement of successful project outcomes.

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