The Work breakdown Structure(WBS) functionality for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012:

Dear Readers,

In today’s post, let us explore the new work breakdown structure functionality for Projects in Microsoft dynamics AX 2012.

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Every professional services organization in today’s competitive world of business, wants to be more accurate in terms of managing each descending level of activities/tasks in the projects they carry out, to manage the costs and revenue efficiently and become more profitable. Breaking down the individual tasks and activities on projects and tracking costs, revenues, managing resources at each task level etc. helps in this.

The work breakdown structure of dynamics AX 2012 is a hierarchical representation of the activities  and child activities in a project and helps the project managers to do the following.

  • Define the overall work scope of the projects.
  • Each descending level of the hierarchy represents increasingly detailed information about the project work.
  • It helps identifying and creating milestones in the project.
  • It also helps managers to soft/hard commit resources to the activities/tasks.
  • Project managers can create WBS templates and use them any time they want to plan a new project. They can also create the WBS directly on a project.

Let us first learn how we can view and create the work breakdown structure template for our organization. The following steps will depict the steps to create new WBS template.

  1. Navigate to Project Management and Accounting > Common > Activities > Work breakdown structure template.
  2. Click New > New work breakdown structure template.



3. On the Work breakdown structure details screen, click “New” button to create the hierarchy of activities/tasks in the project.

4. Create Planning as the new activity and click New button again by keeping the focus on this activity. Provide activity name, it’s priority and a brief description about it in the designated fields.


5. On the right hand side, expand the various fast tabs to fill in information about this activity. Expand  the Schedule tab and key in the Duration in days, effort in hours, a default category etc. as shown as an example in the screen above.

6. Expand the Activity requirements tab and setup the resource requirements for this activity in terms of Education, skills, certification, experience etc. This information can be used if you want to make use of the resource scheduling functionality of AX 2012.

7. Setup the estimated costs and revenues for this activity by creating new records under this tab.


8. Similarly, complete the end to end hierarchy for this WBS template and setup the above explained parameters for each of the activities/tasks.

9. Now that we have created and setup a template for a software development project, let us create a new project and try to use this template in the project to define the task hierarchy for this.

10. For this, create the new project and click Plan tab > Work breakdown structure. Click Copy from button. System will show all the available templates in the system. Select the template and click Ok button.


11. System will then load the activity hierarchy structure for the project which you can modify as the current project needs. For example you may wish to assign different resources to the activities and the cost and revenue estimates may be different for this project.

The project manager can also carry out the resource assignment task from the WBS screen and by clicking the Assign resources button.

The project managers can also make use of the WBS right from the project quotations level which will help them in automating most of the project planning tasks such as WBS management, budgeting, resource assignments etc.

Please feel free to ask any queries you have regarding the WBS management for projects in AX 2012 and I will be happy to answer.


Keep DAXING Smile


20 thoughts on “The Work breakdown Structure(WBS) functionality for Projects in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012:

  1. Hi Sandeep,

    Have you had any luck migrating data into the WBS via the Data Migration Framework or Atlas?


    1. Hi Sheena,

      I never migrated using the above two, but we did using our own DEV scripts.

  2. Dear All,
    I need your help, as I want to upload WBS as a template and I can not do this.

    1. Hi Walid,

      What problems are you facing in uploading the WBS templates ?

  3. Hi Sandeep,

    I’m new in Dynamics AX 2012. RIght now I’m learning about project management and accounting module on it. I created new project inside the module, but I can’t assign any workers or employee into the project that I just created. Even when I already create WBS, it still can’t assign any workers into it. No list of workers shown. Maybe I got some wrong step. Could you guide me more? Thanks in advance.

    Tjhi Yanti

    1. Are you trying to assign the workers from resource scheduling form or Validation > Assign workers form ?


  4. Hi Sandeep – thanks for the great post. Is there a possibility to graphically display the ressource assignment? I’m thinking of something like a GANTT chart. Or an quick and easy way to export to MS Project without going all the way to entire Project Server integration?

    Best! Stefan

  5. Why use the WBS feature/functionality within AX versus just creating Sub Projects that accomplish the same thing?

    1. Tom,

      When you think of simple to lower medium level projects, you could achieve your requirements with sub projects. But WBS and sub projects are fundamentally very different and WBS will be help full if your business needs in depth tracking of each activity in a complex project from project management to accounting.

      Let me know if you have specific issues with using WBS in AX.


  6. Hi, thanks for the great post. Works well so far, but no ressources show up in the “resource assignment” tab. Nothing happens when hitting the “assign resources” button on top of the form. Have I missed some settings regarding the workers? Any help is appreciated! Stefan

  7. Hi Sandeep, thanks ! Do you know what the use is of Activity estimated costs and revenues. I would suppose this could be copied/transferred to project forecast transactions or budgets but cannot find it ?

  8. So the PSA add on is required for WBS?

    1. Hi Anushka,

      If you have the AX 2012, feature pack installed, that brings in everything.

      If you have the RTM version, then you need to install the Project Management and Accounting add-in.


  9. Sandeep. Good article on AX WBS. Have you ran into a requirement to apply hierarchical numbering for the WBS and were you able to solve it. E.g Phase 1 is Installation, and under installation we have 1.11 – Install Server, and 1.12 Install Software. Today, AX autonumbers the activity as W0000001 and this is what shows up on the timesheet. Users would rather want to see 1.11, 1.12 etc. Any advice could help. Cheers!!

    1. Hi Dee,

      Unfortunately this requirement cannot be automated in AX(Unless you customize) as the activities will be consequent and will share the same number sequence.

      I would never recommend to customize this and rather you can make the number sequence as Manual. BTW, can you provide me a sample of your breakdown requirements. I just wanna validate that if there will be several activities in which case, the manual way may be little time taking.

      Let me know if you need more help.


  10. I have a question, Is Work breakdown structure template a standard form?, I question this, because i dont find it in project module. I search this option to copy activities, and i find a form at this path:

    CEU/Organization administration/Setup/Activities/Process templates.

    In this form i created a hierarchy with Project hierarchy type.


    1. Hi Kenny,

      I know i am very late in replying to this.

      You will see the WBS template form only if you have Project Management and accounting add-in installed or if you have the AX 2012 feature pack installed.


      1. Sandeep,

        Quick question. I’m looking for WBS pre-made templates. Rather than manually create the templates is there any pre-made ones you can choose in Dynamics or from any other source that you know of.

        1. The WBS template can be vastly different purely based on business needs. There are no premade templates available unless you want to use the few which comes with standard demo data.

  11. Dear Sandeep,

    Very nice Efforts. I’m unable to find Activity menu in Common forms? Any specific reason?

    Thx you.


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