Exploring trends and developments in project management today.

Ensuring the Project is a Manageable Size

Question 4: Is your project a manageable size?

Man and woman holding puzzle pieces

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: A large project should be cut up into more manageable subprojects, which only depend on completed subprojects. The project planning methodology provides a good tool to subdivide a major project into more manageable subprojects with short-term deliverables.

Each project plan should itself be subdivided into a number of key milestones. This helps to provide continual delivery and to ensure that actual progress is measured regularly. For example, a recent large project involved two separate project plans for different stages of the project, development and implementation. Each plan consisted of around 300+ separate tasks and around 30 key milestones.

In his article 7 Steps to Project Success, Peter Draper suggests it is necessary to break up projects into smaller, independent subprojects that are more easily manageable. These subprojects must be:

  • Small, that is, less than $1m.
  • Fast, that is, takes less than 6 months.
  • Compact, that is, fewer than 6 people on the team.
  • Focused on key benefits and not just deliverables.

Common Mistakes

  • Going for a 'big bang' implementation.
  • Not being prepared to take the extra cost of splitting a project up into separate stages.
  • Underestimating the overall complexity and the interactions between all the separate components.