How To Manage A Small Project

Paul Naybour

Small projects can bring unique challenges; as they are smaller, many project managers skip the prep and jump straight into getting the work done and this tends to happen more often when projects are similar to other projects in the past. Because of this tendency to avoid proper planning, important processes are neglected, which can lead to some pretty basic mistakes. Quite simply you need to put the same effort into planning a small project as you would a bigger one if you don’t want it to end up a failure.

One key reason the basics on smaller projects can be neglected, is because many standard project management techniques focus on larger projects. Essentially, many processes are not relevant to smaller projects. But that doesn’t mean the smaller project doesn’t need a framework, it just means it needs one that works with its size.

So what are the key problems encountered with smaller projects?

There are lots of key problems encountered with smaller projects such as:

  • Devoting energy to the project if it does not require a full-time role.
  • Filing to track it like you would a larger project.
  • Having the motivation to keep to the project plan.
  • Struggling with motivation because the smaller project is usually less high profile so the rewards are not as great.

So What Are The Secrets To Managing A Small Project?

Designating Effectively

It is important that once a smaller project has been assigned, roles and responsibilities within that project are designated effectively. Sometimes project managers simply don’t want to take on smaller projects because they have larger projects to work on. Providing working incentives to encourage project managers to invest their time in smaller projects, and providing key reasons these projects are important to the business will do this. Often smaller projects won’t even have a team assigned to them, but if they do it is important that team is given designated tasks and job roles to work to and most importantly, they understand why that project is being undertaken.

Planning Effectively

Planning is incredibly important no matter what size the project is. By always planning a project big or small, you execute best project management practises. Project management training offers excellent methodology learning, and it is possible to apply that to any size project, it just takes a little time to assess which parts are required and adapt them as necessary. But whatever the size of project it must be approved, the scope defined and scheduling and estimating done, as for larger projects.

Executing Effectively

Once the project has been planned the project needs to be executed with passion and determination. Status reporting must take place and the milestones must be treated seriously. It is also important that the project is closed properly, so it can be seen as an accomplishment.

The key to managing a small project effectively is to insist on planning, adapting a framework to suit the size, and applying the same determination and motivation you would if it was a larger project.

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