WBS for Freeplane

I’ve been contacted about my FreeplaneGTD addon, if it could be used for creating and maintaining work-breakdown-structures (WBS).

As there is a huge difference between what WBS and GTD is used for, I have to turn down the idea of integrating any kind of WBS support into the already quite bloated GTD add-on. Nevertheless I decided to see how this could be implemented in Freeplane.

WBS is a project management technique for representing a project and it’s subtasks in a multi-level tree, where each new level refines the top-level tasks. It is a great tool for planning and budgeting a project. The tasks have names, definitions, resource costs and duration properties.

As long as it is not used for keeping track of the dependencies of the tasks, it can be easily created using a mindmap tool. After the initial planning, the tasks can be exported for future use in Excel or imported to actual project management tools like the all-time favorite MS Project.

Freeplane is exceptionally versatile, when it comes to handling task properties and scripting. For setting a WBS structure up, all you have to do is add Cost and Duration properties to your nodes, add aggregated properties SubCost and SubDuration that sums the properties of costs and durations.

By adjusting styles, the whole image can be modified to display the web of tasks like a proper WBS. The built-in styles also make the implementation of dotted reference numbering easy.

In about a day I rolled out the first version of the addon and I hope it will come handy to someone.

If you like the addon, don’t forget to honor the work put into it by donating to the author.

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