PM Earth

Project Management

And here's another article for you, in case you're a project management professional looking for tools or techniques to improve your project management learning...
Do you often manage small projects?
If you do, then you will know that the way you manage small projects is different from managing larger more complex projects. To help you make this distinction and improve your success in managing smaller projects, we've described in this newsletter...

10 Steps to Managing Small Projects

So what is a "small project" vs. a "large project"? It's fair to say that small projects have:
A lower project budget
Very short delivery timescales
Less people and more limited resources
Lower risk and fewer project issues
More clearly defined deliverables

However small projects are not necessarily easier to manage than large projects! They may still be complex and involve a range of departments, resources, suppliers and customers to complete them.
So to boost your success in managing small projects, we recommend these 10 steps:
Step 1: Create a Project Charter
For small projects, the first step to take is usually the creation of a Project Charter. This document describes project vision, scope, objectives, deliverables, timeframes and known risks for the project.
You need to get all of the project stakeholders to agree to this document, so that you gain a crystal clear view of what the project is to achieve. Without formal approval, projects suffer scope creep, lack of change control, poor sponsorship and communication problems.
Step 2: Appoint the Project Team
Thanks to your Project Charter, everyone agrees what it is that has to be achieved. You're now ready to appoint your team. For small projects, you will usually need to gain the support of senior management, to allocate resource to your project, from within the business.
You will probably have a very limited budget for appointing external suppliers, consultants and contractors. But if they are required, you will need to formalize supplier contracts at this point.
Regardless of the project role appointed, make sure you create a clear Job Description first, so that staff know exactly what's expected of them.
Step 3: Set up the Project Office
Even small projects need the support of a project office, who help with project reporting, risk / issue / change resolution, training and administration. For small projects, you will need the services of your project office to make sure that your project conforms with internal standards and processes, and to get project support when you need it.
Step 4: Create a Project Plan
The Project Plan is more than just a schedule of events. It describes the entire Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the project by defining all of the phases, activities and tasks required to deliver it. It also sets out the project scope, milestones, effort, deliverables, resources and dependencies in detail.
For smaller projects, your project plan will become your "single view of progress for the project." By updating it at immediately after your weekly project status meetings, you can ensure that you remain on track.
Step 5: Create a Quality Plan
With a clear view of the project plan, you now need to work out how you're going to ensure that you will meet the requirements of your customer. The Quality Plan will help you do this by defining your quality targets, complete Quality Assurance reviews and Quality Control.
Step 6: Create a Communications Plan
The final step in the planning process is to set out a plan for keeping stakeholders properly informed of the progress of the project.
Using the Communications Plan, you can define the communication needs of all stakeholders. You can then build a schedule of communications events so that you inform the right people with the right information at the right time.
Step 7: Contract the Suppliers
Before you start building the deliverables, you need to contract any suppliers to your project. Start by issuing a statement of work to explain to suppliers what it is that you wish to contract out. Then release a request for information, seeking registrations of interest from suitable suppliers that you may consider contracting with. And then release a request for proposal, seeking proposals from your supplier community. When you have chosen the preferred supplier, contract them to the project by signing a formal supplier agreement.
Step 8: Build the Deliverables
Of course the largest amount of time allocated in your Project Plan, will be spent building the physical deliverables for your customer. Whether it's creating new products, deploying new services or re-engineering processes, make sure that you use a Deliverables Register to record the progress of your deliverables towards completion.
Step 9: Monitor and Control
While your team are building the project deliverables, your job is to monitor and control the critical elements of the project. This includes:
Time Management>
Cost Management
Quality Management
Change Management>
Risk Management
Issue Management

Step 10: Close the Project
Once all of the deliverables are complete, your job is nearly finished. At this point, you need to close the project by completing any outstanding items, filing project documentation, releasing suppliers, terminating contracts, re-allocating resources and communicating closure to the project stakeholders.
Step 11: Review Completion
Even for small projects, it's necessary to review it's completion. By completing a Post Implementation Review, you can gain an independent assessment of the level of success of the project, the areas for improvement and any lessons learned.
And that's it! By following these 10 steps, you'll boost your chances of delivering your projects time and under budget.
Need templates to help you manage small projects?
Check out the Project Management Template Kit from
If you want to download a Methodology for managing small projects, then download a free trial from now...


Featured Tip / Hint
26 June 2009
External Community Project Status Summary
External Project Status Summary The external project manager status summary is similar to the project status summary. The PMO Communications Manager should begin with the project status summary an...
[Tips and Hints / Project Management]