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Topics: Cost Management, PM in Academia, Resource Management
Small Project Management
Network:13

How much project management should one use for a small project, and how should this vary with size?
(where quantity is given as a percentage of overall time or budget, and where a small project is defined as having a budget less than £75,000, a timeline smaller than 6 months, and have 10 or fewer members)
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Network:1832



The amount of project management activities should be 15%-20% the total amount of the project duration no matter the type of project you are managing. It will vary depending on the organizational maturity related to project management.
Network:1476



Hugo -

I'd look at the complexity of the project rather than just its size. The former will dictate how much project management may be needed to increase the odds of success.

Kiron
Network:601



Hugo,

I agree with Kiron. A project's complexity determines how much project management oversight it requires - not its budget or expected duration. Too often executives look at only these factors and assume the project will be simple to execute, then they cannot understand why the supposedly easy project is experiencing problems.
As you develop a project's requirements and risks its complexity will become apparent, and you'll be able to make a good estimate of how much project management oversight it will require.
Network:273



I agree with the comments on complexity, but the estimates provided actually show that very little complexity is assumed already

Here's my back-of-the-envelope job estimating process for this problem, from my experience triaging and delegating incoming projects:

You have cost, time, and maximum team size. If you assume your fully burdened labor rate is £75 an hour in the UK, you have an area under a curve problem. The cost equates to a 1000 hour job for 6 months total, or one person for six months. Several people may be required at certain points in time but a weekly meeting of 10 people would be almost 1/4 the total budget. There's not a lot of teaming going on.

Someone has to plan and manage it, but there will not be much in the plan for a PM to oversee. It's little enough total effort that typically the project SME would be the de facto PM with some help if needed rather than assigning an outside PM to hover over them.
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1 reply by Alysa Joaquin
Feb 20, 2019 2:45 AM
Alysa Joaquin
...
Also agree, and I also want to point out that "small" has totally different meanings depending on industry, the specific project, and who the customer is. What if this "small" project is a very large company testing your company out before deciding to become business partners?

You could have two projects that are identical in budget, team size, and timeline, but one of the projects is a software product, and the other is a manufacturing project that requires outsourcing, importing/exporting, hazardous materials, subcontractors, prototyping, along with mechanical testing, shipping and customs. There is a lot more complexity in the second case, so I would say that project is no longer a "small" project, even if the budget and team size is relatively small.

In the calculations you end up developing, some measure of project complexity (not sure if one already exists!) may be helpful to see if you are underestimating.
Network:298



Feb 20, 2019 12:34 AM
Replying to Keith Novak
...
I agree with the comments on complexity, but the estimates provided actually show that very little complexity is assumed already

Here's my back-of-the-envelope job estimating process for this problem, from my experience triaging and delegating incoming projects:

You have cost, time, and maximum team size. If you assume your fully burdened labor rate is £75 an hour in the UK, you have an area under a curve problem. The cost equates to a 1000 hour job for 6 months total, or one person for six months. Several people may be required at certain points in time but a weekly meeting of 10 people would be almost 1/4 the total budget. There's not a lot of teaming going on.

Someone has to plan and manage it, but there will not be much in the plan for a PM to oversee. It's little enough total effort that typically the project SME would be the de facto PM with some help if needed rather than assigning an outside PM to hover over them.
Also agree, and I also want to point out that "small" has totally different meanings depending on industry, the specific project, and who the customer is. What if this "small" project is a very large company testing your company out before deciding to become business partners?

You could have two projects that are identical in budget, team size, and timeline, but one of the projects is a software product, and the other is a manufacturing project that requires outsourcing, importing/exporting, hazardous materials, subcontractors, prototyping, along with mechanical testing, shipping and customs. There is a lot more complexity in the second case, so I would say that project is no longer a "small" project, even if the budget and team size is relatively small.

In the calculations you end up developing, some measure of project complexity (not sure if one already exists!) may be helpful to see if you are underestimating.
Network:13

Thank you all for your replies,

I agree that size is just one of a number of complexities that affects the amount of project management. I have identified a few other complexities but would be interested in hearing which you would identify as being the most significant and how you take account of it?

I am currently running a survey to identify the industry practices of project management and how to vary the quantity required. I touch upon an organisations set up and the type of project that is being undertaken as well. This will be shared on the ProjectManagement.com 's group LinkedIn page shortly.

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