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4 Ways to Think Big While Managing Small Projects

There is always a fear of biting off more than you can chew at the start of something new. For project managers, they are typically given smaller projects at the beginning of their careers because they allow for experience to be gained with less risk. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Kevin Korterud shares four ways for beginner project managers to make the most of their small projects:

  1. Utilize support.
  2. Implement quality assurance processes.
  3. Grasp change management.
  4. Acknowledge the project’s complexity.

Big Opportunity

It is common for project managers to want to do everything themselves when they are in charge of small projects. Although this helps to boost their ego, attempting to do everything themselves creates an opportunity cost because they could have been working on more important, higher-value elements. Support resources for things like building project plans, even on small projects, save time and money.

When project managers are running smaller projects, it is common for them to become fully immersed in the minutia of the project. They take more time getting to know the team and the elements on hand. Unfortunately, this can distract them from the vital aspects of their role. Quality assurance processes can help a project manager ensure everything is up to par without wasting all of their time investigating. As Korterud says, “Phase gate reviews, deliverable peer reviews, change control processes, quality performance metrics and the definition of project acceptance criteria are all good examples of quality processes.”

Even the smallest of projects have the potential to encounter change management processes, and project managers should never underestimate that. Change management activities may include business process transitions, different training levels, or measuring the timeliness of adopting functionality.

Sometimes, a project manager may be given a schedule for a project that does not give it a sufficient timeline. This is because smaller projects are often underestimated in their complexity. When project managers confirm assumptions about complexity from the beginning, they will save themselves a great deal of grief in the long run.

You can read Part One here:

You can read Part Two here:

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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