LARGE  and  SMALL  PROJECTS

LARGE PROJECTS

If you started at the Front Page and worked your way through the project steps, you have already seen the value of reducing a project into smaller parts, in order to make a plan for your project management. This is like the old joke, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"

 

For review of this idea, you can look at (Click)    Create WBS  

The practical application of this idea comes down to individual work packages, where you delegate portions of the total work to various groups or individuals as assigned activities or tasks to be completed. Then as Project Manager, you oversee and coordinate all these packages toward overall project completion.

This is exactly how management of larger, more complex, projects is done.

On very large projects, each work package can actually be managed as a mini-project; that is a project within a project. Each mini-project would have its own plan for Stakeholders, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communication, Procurement and Risk. Each mini-project would be managed as its own entity but you, as Professonal Project Manager, ensure all the mini-projects work together.

 

SMALL PROJECTS

Are you, instead, in a position of trying to manage many smaller projects? I have found myself with so many projects to manage that I needed an overall plan. In this case, you can take all the projects you have, and roll them up into one master plan and manage that. You can call this master project "My Projects." 

By looking at your projects as a collective endeavor, you will find opportunities for synergy and time saving efficiencies. Here are some examples:

STAKEHOLDERS: Compile all your Stakeholder Registers onto one master Stakeholder Register. Then, when you plan a meeting, look at the invitee list for the opportunity to schedule back-to-back meetings with the same people on another project.

SCOPE: Look at all your project Scopes to see if there are potential interferences between projects that can be avoided; or synergies between the project scopes or deliverables that can be captured.

TIME: Create a master schedule that includes all your (small) projects. This will help you keep things straight, and prevent you from double-booking or over-committing yourself and your team.

QUALITY: You might be able to do some Quality planning for more  than one project simultaneously; especially if the Scopes are similar and/or the Sponsor is the same.

HUMAN RESOURCES: You can plan HR for more than one project at a time. For example, putting the most suitable people on the most critical of all your project activities ensures you don't have all the 'best' people on one project and leave none available for the other projects. Keeping a master Resource Calendar will help you see who is available and when.

COMMUNICATIONS: Similar to what was said about Stakeholders, you can plan Communications for more than one project at the same time. Notices to the public, for example, can be cost effectively "bundled" for more than one project. 

PROCUREMENT: You can look at your upcoming procurement requirements and see if it is possible to "bundle" purchase requisitions from more than one project. Often, vendors will offer better pricing for a larger quantity of work.

RISK: By looking at all your projects, together, you will more likely see overlapping risks that can be addressed  at one time. Compile your Risk Registers into one master version.

Is it my project LARGE, or is it SMALL?

There is no single way to answer this question, because it depends on your organization, the available resources, and your experience as a Project Manager. A project can be quite small but very complex, thereby requiring a large amount of effort. In most organizations the 'size' of a project is determined by:

  • TIME: How many hours, weeks, months will this project take to complete?

  • COST: What is the expected, or budget, cost?

  • FINANCING: How many sources of funding are there, and how much control does the organization have over those funding sources?

  • RISK: How risky is this project? Is it similar to other successful projects, or is it a 'first-time' project.

  • STAKEHOLDER: Is the project political, public, contentious? Is it highly visible? Are there many or few Stakeholders to coordinate with?

CLOSING THOUGHTS

We need to recognize that even a small project is still a project. It is very tempting for organizations to treat a small project as part of the operating work. (See Thoughts About Planning) But this approach leads to essential steps being missed or done out of sequence, risks being overlooked, and Key Stakeholders being left out, along with giving up the other benefits of orderly professional project management.

What is important, then, is to do the right level  of project management. All the steps are important but not all to the same level (intensity, depth, detail). For example, simplified templates work well on small projects. Do not over-kill small projects, but be wary of leaving out essential steps. This site provides all the steps and tools needed for any size of project. You only need to pick-and-choose what is needed for your project.

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