Myriad things cannot be scaled down to a different size with no degradation in basic functionality: computer screens, books, and your shoes or clothes, to name but a few. At some point, they become too tiny to be usable. Such is not the case with the processes of Project Management. Not only can the collective discipline be used to manage the largest of projects, but it can also be tailored to manage the smallest.
Those new to the study of Project Management often have no trouble understanding what processes need to be applied to large projects. In most of those cases, the answer is: all. However, smaller projects are more problematic because it may not be clear what from each Process Group can be skipped or reduced in its implementation. For example, in the Time Management knowledge area, every project needs a good schedule. But, then what?
In fact, managing small projects may be more difficult than larger ones because they are typically assigned to individuals who are new to the field and need to prove themselves before they are trusted with big budget, high-visibility projects. Indeed, this circumstance may be complicated by a further wrinkle: leadership or customer stakeholders may view the successful management of the small project as a slam-dunk and under-fund Project Management activities! Thus, the biggest risk to a small project might be underestimating the need for disciplined Project Management. Just because an effort is relatively smaller does not mean it does not require discipline to execute on time, on budget, and with the requisite quality and functionality.
This is the first in a new series of posts about small project management, introducing the topic. In my next article, I will examine how the knowledge area of Communications Management can be applied in a large project, and then scaled down for a small one.
Stay tuned, and let me know along the way of any best practices you have successfully employed!