WBSs and Network Structures in SAP's Project System

Project System is SAP’s solution that supports project managers in planning and implementing their projects.


A prerequisite to starting a new project is determining which structural approach to use. Let’s take a look at the differences between the structures offered in Project System.


Project System Structures

Project System provides two structures: work breakdown structures (WBSs) and networks. The difference between these two structures is the way they enable users to structure projects, along with the functions provided for them in the SAP S/4HANA system.

Work Breakdown Structures

A WBS allows you to map the structure of a project in SAP S/4HANA using WBS elements. These elements are found at different levels and structure the project based on a hierarchy. A hierarchal structure means data can be inherited or distributed in descending order and aggregated or summarized in ascending order.


WBS elements can be used to structure projects based on phases, functions, or organizational aspects at the individual level. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to structure a project using a WBS; the selection of appropriate structures should be based on the project at hand.


There are a number of important WBS functions in SAP S/4HANA:

  • Planning and entering dates
  • Cost planning and account assignment of documents
  • Planning and invoicing revenues
  • Planning and monitoring payment flows
  • Managing hierarchical budgets
  • Managing material stock
  • Handling various period-end closing tasks
  • Monitoring project progress
  • Performing aggregated data analysis

A WBS that isn’t assigned to a network is typically used to map a project with a focus on controlling, which requires fewer logistical functions. These types of projects typically involve overhead costs or investments.


Networks are used to map the flow of a project or parts of a project. Individual aspects of the project in a network are mapped by activities, which are linked by relationships. The relationship between two activities defines the logical sequence of the activities and their time-based interdependencies. Project flows can also be mapped across different networks by linking activities of different networks to each other.


Networks can automatically determine planned dates for each activity in tandem with their duration and chronological sequence. The system can also determine floats and time-critical activities.


The important network functions in SAP S/4HANA include the following:

  • Scheduling
  • Resource planning
  • Performing work confirmation
  • Procuring external services
  • Material requirements planning (MRP), procurement, and delivery
  • Network costing
  • Performing various period-end closing tasks
  • Monitoring project progress

Networks are mainly used to map projects that require logistical functions like automatic time scheduling, resource planning, or the procurement of materials. Networks can be used independently or in conjunction with a WBS.


WBS and network functions can be used simultaneously by assigning network activities to WBS elements. A WBS element can be assigned several activities, even from different networks if required; however, an activity can only be assigned to one WBS element. Once you’ve assigned activities to WBS elements, you can exchange data between the WBS and the activities.


About the Project System in SAP S/4HANA Book

SAP S/4HANA’s latest version of Project System provides numerous innovations and functions for managing various types of projects. Those looking to master the new functionality can use our Project System in SAP S/4HANA book as their go-to resource for information on the business processes, customization, and integration.


A proper structuring process is the basis for managing projects. Readers will start by learning how to prepare a roadmap for their project management steps using profiles and control indicators. Planning is next, and this book provides an overview of all the functions available to set a project up for success, like resource, material, cost, and revenue planning.


After planning, you’ll explore the processes that can be mapped in the SAP S/4HANA system for the execution phase of a project. This book covers the range of options to integrate Project System with other SAP components, along with additional periodic procedures like calculating overhead costs and project settlement.


The book introduces reporting functions for analyzing project-related data, and explains how those functions can support project managers in each phase. Dive into the integration of Project System with PPM and CPM functionality in SAP S/4HANA, as well as SAP S/4HANA Cloud for cloud-based projects.


Close out the book with important database tables of Project System and learn about the available APIs for developing interfaces and process steps. Additional tables list transaction codes and menu paths for the most important transactions and customizing activities.


Who Is This Book For?

This book is for professionals who are implementing SAP S/4HANA projects and need detailed knowledge of the different settings in Project System. Consultants, project managers, and key users will benefit from this book, along with anyone interested in getting an overview of the functions and concepts of Project System.


About the Authors

Dr. Mario Franz works as a product manager in the area of enterprise portfolio and project management (EPPM). He has previously worked in this field in various roles at SAP, including teaching courses on SAP Project System for several years and assisting with consultant training.


Andrea Langlotz has worked in EPPM at SAP SE since 2005. She currently works as a product manager. Her focus is on the SAP S/4HANA-based aspects of the EPPM application. Prior to that, she spent many years as a solution manager responsible for the go-to-market strategy and marketing of the solution.


How to Purchase

If you’re interested in purchasing Project System in SAP S/4HANA, follow this link and choose the format that works best for you: e-book, print edition, or bundle (both e-book and print).

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Project System in SAP S/4HANA
Project System in SAP S/4HANA

Managing projects across an organization is complex. This book guides you through each twist and turn in the project lifecycle using Project System in SAP S/4HANA. Start by setting up the master data that project management depends on. Then configure and run planning functions for project logistics and financials. Finally, execute your projects and manage all period-end allocation and close tasks. Details on project analysis reports and integration scenarios make this the only guide you need!

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