Small Projects Are An Art Form

Small Projects Projects Don’t Need a Plan… We Can Wing it

Managing small projects with consistent success is an art form.  Everyone from sponsor to PM to Team gets sloppy because they think “small projects are easy.  They are not. Scope creep is a disease that everyone ignores so are variances on a small project, “Hell, its only 6 days!” But the project duration is only 10 days so its not a small matter.  Having 5 small projects running simultaneously is much more difficult than having one big one.  Some project managers think that writing a plan for their small projects is not important and just consumes time.project plan Best to just start work.  I disagree with the idea that “the plan is not important.” Start fast on a small project and before you can take a breath, you have a 40% duration overrun. You need a project plan for any size project because it is identifying the four dimensions of any project scope, duration, budget and risk.
However, I agree with the idea that “writing a big project plan consumes the time and there is no need for it on a small project.” During project initiation, the project manager is exchanging the project’s requirements, scope, duration, and tasks with team members, executives, and vendors through email, or printed documents. All this communication contains the raw materials for the plan. It contains the agreed scope, the duration needed to finalize each task, accountabilities, resource commitments, budget, and identifying uncertain situations which may affect the project with their planned responses. As a result, the project manager will just reassemble the parts which are distributed among the email messages and documents, make it in one document, distribute it to all stakeholders, and then get their approval. At the end, the project manager will have a good documented plan for his/her small project without consuming much time.
For additional information on project plans, you might wish to consult our articles on the project charter. They include defining the project scope with the sponsor, identifying major deliverables and assessing the major risks and assumptions which the project faces. All this information can fit on a single page of paper ensuring that people read it and that it is a useful decision-making device.

At the beginning, when you and Dick talk to design your program and what you want to learn, you will select case studies that fit the kind of projects you want to manage. Chose you course and then select the which specialty case study from business, or marketing,  or construction, or healthcare, or consulting.  That way your case studies and project plans, schedules and presentations will fit your desired specialty.

  1. 101 Project Management Basics
  2. 103 Advanced Project Management Tools
  3. 201 Managing Programs, Portfolios & Multiple Projects
  4. 203 Presentation and Negotiation Skills
  5. 304 Strategy & Tactics in Project management

Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on