Mudassir Iqbal

Before going forward with the clarification of the definitions mentioned above, we need to understand the WBS, and work breakdown.

“A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. Each descending level of the WBS represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.”

WBS is a hierarchal deliverable-oriented graphical representation of all the work needed to be done on the project.  The following represents a different level of this hierarchical representation.

Control Account

A control account is associated with a particular structural module in the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS). Control accounts are usually positioned at selected levels in work packages. There may be many control accounts associated with every work package, though, a control account is linked with only one work package at a time.

A control account is a management point in the WBS that provides a way to monitor and control project performance, cost, and schedule.

A control account is an important project management tool that involves the integration of specific and key elements of project-specific constitutes. Once a successful integration takes place, a measurement of the performance to date occurs. The elements that are frequently integrated using the control account tool comprises of the scope of a project, the actual cost, and the project schedule.

Control accounts are typically positioned at diverse strategic points of the project’s work breakdown structure. This is thought to be useful interchanges along with the way of the process and points at which the work is finished in every one of these particular areas that can be integrated and differences are addressed.

Work PackageWBS

A Work Package is a collection of related tasks in a project and they are often considered as sub-projects in one major project.

Work packages refer to the lowest unit of work that a project can be segmented when developing your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A work package typically comprises of the nature of work involved, specific stakeholders, results of the tasks, technical material used, duration, and geographic location where these tasks will take place. By placing all related tasks together, a work package becomes an easier division to understand. Team members can easily see the association between varying tasks and emphasize those elements that apply to them. As a sub-division of a work breakdown structure, work packages offer a significant level of clarity as every block of associated tasks can be quickly envisaged.

A work package is a smaller, more specific component of the WBS that represents a single, well-defined piece of work that can be planned, executed, and controlled independently. Work packages are typically assigned to a single person or team for completion.

Work packages let for concurrent work to be performed on different components of a project that is parallel to several teams. Every team follows a certain list of defined tasks for the work package and completes in the given time period. As soon as the team finishes their individual work packages, the whole project comes together with perfect integration.

The work package is the work defined at the lowest level of the WBS for which cost and duration can be estimated and managed. The  work package should be defined with a unique identifier

Planning Package

Planning Package offers a valuable means of categorization for the project managers to efficiently collect important elements of the project. The concept refers to the project specific work breakdown structure that exists on the entire scheme below the decoded and already break down control account without any detailed schedule activities. For a comprehensive understanding of a planning package, it is helpful to evaluate the term control accounts. It can be developed at any phase of the project, though its best to be outlined at the beginning of a project.

Planning packages are typically used to define the work that will be performed during a specific phase of the project.

A planning package is a work breakdown structure component below the control account and above the work package with known work content but without detailed schedule activities. It holds the future work.

Before dwelling into the concept of Planning Package and Work Package, let me explain the very important concept of project scope identification i.e progressive elaboration of scope. A detailed scope is planned for the short term while the far/long term is planned at a high level. WBS is segmented at different levels according to the availability of information while duration and costs are estimated with a reasonable degree. Considering the components where details are not evident to the degree to produce verifiable subcomponents of products, services, and outcomes. Here, we are aware of the work through the detailed schedule activities are not possible to determine. This level of decomposition refers to Planning Package. A planning package can be converted into a work package with the lowest level details in defining budget and schedule. Individual work packages form the building blocks of project deliverables and the foundation at which the project is evaluated and monitored.

The planning package concept refers specifically to the project’s particular work breakdown structure component which resides on the grand and total scheme below the already deciphered and already broken down control account however lacking a carefully crafted and elaborately detailed itemization of the project’s defined schedule activities, yet nonetheless containing a fairly lucid delineation of


  • A control account has two or more work packages, though each work package is associated with a single control account.
  • A control account may include one or more planning packages
  • A planning package will be decomposed into a work package when the needed details regarding scope, budget and schedule are defined.


  • A control account is a natural management point for planning and control since it represents the work assigned to one responsible organizational element on one project work breakdown structure element.
  • Work packages constitute the basic building blocks used in planning, measuring accomplishment, and controlling project work.
  • Planning packages are created to describe work within a control account that will occur in the future. Planning packages must have a work scope, schedule, and time-phased budget.


5 thoughts to “Control Account, Work Package, Planning Package : PMP/CAPM

  • Robin

    thank you.

  • karim

    Excellent explanation !! could please send me a schem represents : Work package; Planning package and Control account (my email is:

  • karim

    so;when we have details about a planning package (scheduled activities, ..etc) it becomes a Work package ?

    • Mudassir (Gmail)


  • Mohammad Tanvir

    Inshallah amazing explanation… subahanallah


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