In the context of project management, decomposition is the sub-division of the activities needed to complete the scope of the project into manageable steps, the work breakdown structure (WBS). Depending on the size of the project, the amount of decomposition will vary. One rule of thumb is that most of the activities at the lowest level should span about two reporting periods. When the lowest level spans many more reporting periods, it can be difficult to verify completion; when the lowest level is too detailed (for example, many activities within a reporting period), the management overhead may be higher than necessary.

Related: rolling wave planning, progressive elaboration

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