Steps for completing an analysis of a system using virtual work:

- Draw a free body diagram of the system, including a coordinate system
- Sketch the "deflected" position of the system
- Define the position coordinates (measured from a fixed point), select the parallel line of action component, and remove all the forces that do not complete any work
- Differentiate the position coordinates to obtain virtual displacement
- Write the virtual work equation, expressing the virtual work of every force and moment
- Factor out the common virtual displacement term and solve