Simplify even the most complex projects into manageable pieces with a brilliant Work Breakdown Structure

Use a Work Breakdown Structure to dissect complex projects

American industrialist and innovator Henry Ford had it right — “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Anyone who has ever handled a project, especially a large one involving a variety of teams with different objectives, knows how important it is to break down a big project into manageable chunks. A work breakdown structure (WBS) is the perfect tool to do so as it helps illustrate and divide a project’s moving parts into smaller pieces. This helps project managers and company owners alike to get a clearer picture of amount of time and resources needed for each component of the project.

However complicated your project may be, creating a work breakdown structure for it need not be. With Canva on your side, you can simply drag and drop elements you need to create a WBS that perfectly captures your entire project. The online maker comes with beautiful, pre-designed templates that reduce the overall work involved. You won’t have to start from scratch and editing is a breeze thanks to Canva’s drag and drop simplicity.

Design a work breakdown structure in Canva with these easy steps:

  1. Create a new Canva account to get started with your own work breakdown structure design.
  2. Choose from our library of professionally created templates.
  3. Upload your own photos or choose from over 1 million stock images.
  4. Fix your images, add stunning filters and edit text.
  5. Save and share.

Customize a template and make it your own

  1. Change the images. Upload your own images or choose from our stock library of over 1 million photographs, graphics and illustrations.
  2. Change the fonts. Choose from over 130 fresh fonts.
  3. Change the background. Choose a background from our library or use an image.
  4. Change the colors. Change the color of your text boxes and text to add extra flair.

Build a clearly-structured WBS using elements, lines and text

As a graphical representation of a project, a WBS is hierarchical and built to allow logical and clear groupings either by deliverables or activities.  An easy way to think about a work breakdown structure is as an outline or map of the specific project. A work breakdown structure starts with the project as the top-level deliverable and is further broken down into smaller targets and even individual goals.

No matter how big your project might be, you can easily map it in Canva out using a variety of arrows, symbols and text boxes containing your overall goals and sub-goals. Keep adding or deleting as many elements as you need and drag and drop them where they need to go. Add a new text box by heading to the text pane and choosing styles for Heading, Subheading or Body text. Click or drag any of these into your design.

Get organized using colors and text formatting

As a project management tool, you can easily add an extra layer of organization to your work breakdown structure using text formatting and color tools. Emphasize key project details by formatting text using bold, italics or underline tools. Call attention to at-risk and delayed tasks by coloring them yellow or red respectively. Assign the color green to tag an on-target task.

To change a text or icon color simply select the element, click on the color tool on the editor toolbar and choose from any hue in the color wheel or key in a specific color hex code for consistent branding.

Collaborate with your team

Creating a work breakdown structure is primarily a team effort and would need the input and perspective of different project teams and units. Give your team access to edit or view your design by clicking on the share button on the editor toolbar then copying and sending them the link to your design. Since Canva works online, all they’ll need to do is log in to their own account from any computer, iPhone, iPad or Android device.


How can I add branding to my design?

Create a work breakdown structure that is instantly recognizable by uploading your logo, using your brand color palette and consistent fonts. To upload your logo, click on the Uploads tab in your object panel, select the Uploads folder, and click on the green Upload your own images button. Select any PNG, JPEG or SVG file you wish to upload from your computer.

How much does it cost to create a work breakdown structure in Canva?

Designing in Canva is free! Our library of layouts has been created by awesome designers, making it as simple for you as a few clicks to create a professional design. If you use your own images in your design, the entire process will be free.

You can also choose from Canva’s library of over 1 million images, graphics, and illustrations. Many of these images are also free, while the rest are all priced at just $1

Can I edit my work breakdown structure design after I’ve saved it?

You can edit and save your designs as many times as you like. Every time you create a new collage it will appear in the “My Designs” section of your Canva homepage.

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