My, What Big Projects You Have!
While there is no technical definition of what constitutes a big project, I am pretty sure that for most PMs, big projects are those that require the organization to stretch its capabilities, where failure has enterprise survival implications and/or where logistics, communications and coordination are complex. For me, the biggest project I ever led was related to opening the Sydney Harbor Casino (now the Star). My job was to lead the IT portion of the project, which had over a $6 million dollar budget, was mission critical to the successful opening of the casino and spanned about 18 months in duration. For some, this would be a small project; for others, humongous. So, “big” is somewhat defined in the eyes of the beholder.
Beyond sheer size and mass, what makes big projects so daunting? Certainly as a project grows in size and scope, a number of things increase along with it--each adding complexity and risk to the effort. Obvious ones include:
- Number of Stakeholders: increasing the need for more communications planning
- Number of project team members: increasing the need for more oversight, resource planning and supervision
- Number of tasks: increasing the need for formal tracking tools and project administration
- Duration: increasing the chances for change in scope, resources, stakeholders, priorities and more
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