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Project Management Blog
This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2014.08.07.

Projects are not routine. They are managed differently than routine operational work. Projects have a start and end-date. There is a point in time when the work did not exist (before the project), when it does exist (the project), and when it does not exist again (after the project). This is the key determinant of whether a piece of work is a project.

Other characteristics of a project include:

  • All projects are unique. They may be similar to prior projects but they are unique in terms of timeframes, resources, business environment, etc.

  • Projects result in the creation of one or more deliverables.

  • Projects have assigned resources - either full-time, part-time or both. This is reflected in a true budget or an implicit budget based on allocated resources.

  • Projects have a defined scope of work. 

That being said, you need to be practical. In theory, projects can be one hour, 100 hours or 10,000 hours (or more). So, you must recognize that, although the creation of a small deliverable is a project, it does not need the structure and discipline of a much larger project. For a one-hour project, you 'just do it'. Any planning, analysis and design is all done in your head. A 100 hour project probably has too much work to plan and manage all in your head. For instance, you need to start defining the work and building a simple schedule. A 10,000 hour project needs full project management discipline.

Our model for scaling projects is to use a scale of small, medium and large. We use effort hours as the key criteria for sizing projects. This seems to be a true complexity factor. Duration is not a good factor since it varies depending upon the resources committed. For example, a 100 hour project could take 20 weeks if you can only spend five hours a week. The basic scale is as follows.

  • Small Project - less than 250 effort hours
  • Medium project - between 251 and 2500 effort hours
  • Large project - over 2500 effort hours 

In your company, the effort hours for categorizing projects may be different. However, in general, smaller projects need very little rigor and structure. Larger projects need more structure. 

Summary. The definition of a project covers work that could be as little as a minute. However, no organization is going to track one minute projects, or one hour projects. Even though these are all technically projects, your organization should have a minimum threshold that you use before you consider the work to be an official project. Our threshold is 250 hours. What is yours?  


At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Published in Blogs

 In part 1 of this blog, we talked about not all communication events were pushed out to the project stakeholders.  Let’s look at some different types of communications interventions that represent the information, ideas, topics and subject matter that flow to and from the stakeholders through formal communication channels.

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 08:31

Get It Right or Forget It

Have you ever had a perfectionist on your team? They can be the perfect team member or a perfect pain. Here are some tips on how you can have a more perfect partnership.
Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 12:49

Project Manager/Consultant

This is an article about the interview process and a recent job seeking experience of mine. I am interested in finding out how often a scenario such as this takes place in today's environment. Is it something that just happens on occasion or does experience, age, communication skill, etc. influence the situation? Your comments are welcome.

Published in Blogs

The creation of a Project Scope Statement doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Through the use of collaborative decision making and facilitated meetings techniques, it is realistic to build the components of the scope statement while gaining alignment from all project stakeholders in as few as two (2) days. The alignment gained from this upfront scoping effort will form the foundation for success throughout the remainder of the project. The key to this dynamic activity is effective planning and execution of a Project Scope Facilitate Meeting, using collaborative JAD techniques, to build the necessary scope outputs for a project.

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 06:14

Project Planning:

Every year thousands of projects are completed over budget, out of scope and past deadline.  Still, with each passing year, project managers continue to rush into projects without due diligence in defining the project and creating a plan for project execution.  By lightly addressing these critical components they are, in essence, failing their projects before any work has even commenced.  So how can project managers efficiently execute a project plan while at the same time meeting the deadlines and expectations of senior management?

 

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 12 August 2007 21:03

Point 10 - Deming in Project Management

No Slogans or Disingenuous Pep Talks

This point consists of two elements as I see it. (1) Walk the talk, and (2) hold systems accountable.

Walk the Talk

Slogans are phony. The word slogan has a connotation of something that is not real. It sounds like an advertisement, and not something you can really trust in. In a project management organization, it is much better to have published guidelines and a vision that defines your philosophy and practice. Train your project managers and teams on the methodology. Then, let them execute within that framework, and put a system in place so that the practitioners can revise the process and make it better.

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 12 August 2007 20:54

Point 9 - Deming in Project Management

Break Down Departmental Barriers in Pursuit of a Common Goal

Many processes are cross-functional. The same is true of projects. {mosimage}This point is about dissolving the “us versus them” scenario that so often exists in one form or another within organizations. In most projects that I work on, there are individuals from departments such as operations, central services and other support functions, MIS, IT, Service Engineering, etc. The “us versus them” attitude comes about when project managers and project team members look at their own interests at the exclusion of others, and instead of working towards a common goal, work towards their own separate and distinct goals.

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 16 June 2007 09:46

Deming's 5th Point in Project Management

Continuous Improvement

This is one of my favorite points from Dr. Deming. I see so many mistakes that are made again and again, and lessons learned that are either completely undocumented or filed away after a project, never to be seen again.

Do all of the other project managers in the firm get exposure to lessons learned from other projects? Usually not, in my experience. Surely, individual project managers and sponsors learn from their projects, but organizational learning and continuous improvement require a formal process for the documentation, analysis, and incorporation of lessons learned into a common methodology.

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 29 May 2007 11:45

Do You Suffer from TMI?

Do you suffer from TMI? What new disorder is TMI? You may know it as ‘Too Much Information’ syndrome.  TMI often surfaces when you are the recipient of more information than you care to absorb from another individual. Or information that quite frankly you could do without. Think about the co-worker who tells you their entire life story, starting from their earliest memory and ending with breakfast this morning. Ahhhhh – TMI!!

Published in Blogs
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