In the ever-evolving landscape of enterprise resource planning and project management, SAP offers intelligent tools for businesses seeking to streamline their operations and enhance project efficiency.

One of the pivotal tools within the SAP ecosystem that empowers organizations to manage complex projects is the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) element. This hierarchical construct serves as a roadmap for project segmentation and helps companies allocate resources, track costs, and provide critical insights into project progress.

In this article, we’ll discuss the core components and features of Work Breakdown Structure elements in SAP, their impact on orchestrating seamless project management, and where our team of expert SAP consultants can come in to help.

What Does WBS Stand For?

A WBS element in SAP is a cost objective that facilitates the collection of revenues and expenses related to sponsored projects and offers a hierarchical structure for representing and organizing the various components of a project, allowing for the breakdown of a project into manageable sub-elements.

Key Features of the Work Breakdown Structure Element

A WBS element is vital in project management within the SAP landscape, facilitating effective project planning, execution, monitoring, and reporting. WBS elements help organizations create reports, manage complex projects with multiple tasks, resources, and cost considerations in one location, and collect revenues more effectively across the board.

Here are a few key features of the WBS element table in SAP:


WBS elements are organized in a hierarchical structure, with a top-level WBS element representing the project as a whole and lower-level WBS elements representing various phases, tasks, or work packages.

Planning and Control:

WBS elements are used for project definition, planning, budgeting, and cost control processes. They help define the scope of work and allocate resources and costs to specific parts of the project.


WBS elements enable detailed reporting and analysis of project progress, costs, and performance, providing a structured way to track and monitor the project’s status.


WBS elements are integrated with other SAP modules, such as Controlling (CO) and Materials Management (MM), to ensure that costs and materials are allocated and accounted for correctly in the project.

Authorization and Security:

SAP allows users to assign authorization and security roles to control who can access and modify WBS elements and related object and project data.

Master Data:

WBS elements are considered master data in SAP and are typically created and managed in the Project Systems (PS) module. They can be linked to other project-related data like network, activity, cost center, and element master data.

Understanding Data Values for WBS Elements

Here’s a closer look at the core data values in WBS elements across the entire SAP landscape:

Basic Data

Basic data refers to the general data needed for a Work Breakdown Structure element across a specific period and includes valuable information required for each project, including project type, project summarization, priority, and operative indicators.

Control Data

The Work Breakdown Structure contains the following control data:

  • Overhead key
  • Costing key
  • Results analysis key
  • Interest profile
  • Capital-investment measure profile
  • Plan integration indicator
  • Statistical indicator

Organization Data

Organizational data defined for a specific project can be leveraged for other WBS elements, allowing users to assign different company codes, plants, and business areas to WBS elements and change the data under specific circumstances.

The controlling area for each project definition is suitable for the entire project and cannot be changed for another WBS element. Users can assign the following data to an individual WBS element:

  • Profit center
  • Object class
  • Independent objects requiring maintenance

Project Summarization Data

Project summarization occurs through master data fields and combines objects with attributes in a predefined hierarchical structure. Project summarization by master data enables users to initiate the inheritance run for existing master data fields and separate it from the actual project summarization.

Project summarization data includes the following criteria:

  • User-defined fields
  • Business area
  • Responsible cost center

Project Responsibilities

The following data is outlined for project responsibilities in the Work Breakdown Structure:

  • Name and number of the applicant and project manager
  • Controlling area for the responsible and requested cost centers
  • Requested cost center and/or requested area of the WBS element
  • Cost center responsible for initiating and managing the WBS element


Users can enter new documents, assign existing ones to a WBS element, and display each document in the information system or the Intranet to facilitate better visibility across the entire organization,

These documents include:

  • PS texts
  • Documents from the document management function

Settlement Rules

Users can leverage settlement rules to determine how the costs or revenues are incurred and who is responsible for settling each WBS element. This way, they can also settle a project to different cost objects, like assets, cost centers, or sales orders.

Overall View

The overall view for each WBS element combines critical data, including basic data, control data, assignments, project responsibilities, and more. Users can also define values for each field and leverage customer enhancement features to check according to their own predefined criteria.

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure in SAP

There are two main procedures involved in helping companies create a Work Breakdown Structure element in SAP, including:

From WBS Screens

  1. Enter data in the project definition and WBS element fields on the Create WBS Element: Initial Screen.
  2. Choose the right WBS element function and click Create WBS Element: Basic Data.
  3. Enter a description of the WBS element in the correct field.
  4. Analyze the basic data provided and change the data as needed.
  5. Navigate to Joint Venture to change JVA information and complete fields in the project record.

From Project Set-Up Screens

  1. Choose the Structure option and enter the WBS name in the WBS element field.
  2. Fill in all required Description fields.
  3. Choose the Joint Venture function to change JVA information and complete the required fields.
  4. Navigate to the Settlement Rule function to specify rules, complete appropriate fields, and connect information to the right receiver.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help navigating SAP WBS table functionality for the first time, additional support understanding the account assignment element in the SAP environment, or just an extra hand creating new PRPS SAP tables to manage data more efficiently, Surety Systems can help.

Our senior-level, US-based SAP consultant team has the knowledge, skills, and proven track record of success to handle all your most critical SAP project needs and maximize success in the long run.

Getting Started with Us

Interested in learning how standard WBS element functionality can help you visualize control points and milestones and improve connectivity across your entire organization? Ready to get started on a project with our team of SAP consultants?

Contact us today!