Small Project Management

Why This Small Project Session?       Duration: 2 days

You need Small Project Management! Your group spends up to 75% of your time in project-related work. Much of this work consists of small projects that you don’t manage as projects. Rather, you treat it as work that must be done by the end of the month. Thus, this unmanaged work just “happens.” In this era of demand for increased responsiveness and need for business results, letting small projects “just happen” is no longer acceptable.

Speedy File, our Small Project Management documentation templateCan our project management methods help small projects in the same way those methods help larger projects? Yes! This case-study-driven session applies our Small Project method, with its “Speedy File,” The result: teams use the right techniques to understand, manage,  and coordinate small projects.

At the same time, these small project techniques are fully compatible with industry standards. Those include Bodies of Knowledge, IPMA’s Individual Competence Baseline, and with the ISO 21500 Project Management standard. In fact, many program managers have taken this class, especially those who work in aerospace and defense industries. Why? Because they realize that most of their programs rely on the success of small projects, over which they have little control.

Learning Objectives; after this session, Small Project Management participants will be able to …

  • Define Project Management. Discuss the unique challenges of small projects, the skills needed to make them successful, and the methods that can keep them small.
  • Begin the project with a responsive, informative Project Request process.
  • Explain the differences between “Just Do It”, Very Small, and Small Projects. Identify the minimum methods and documentation needed for each.
  • Describe the 3D Life Cycle; discuss the purpose and benefits of the Define phase.
  • Use Business Case analysis to clarify the need, then produce one good objective. Determine the business requirements. Begin planning the project by prioritizing it compared to other projects.
  • Identify the key roles and talents required for small project success; especially important: “The Renaissance project leader.”
  • Describe the activities of the Design phase, and the value of each to the project. Tailor the Small Project WBS Template to create a work plan framework at an appropriate level of detail.
  • Estimate activity effort and duration using the Small Project Worksheet. Describe how communicating assumptions produces more accurate, useful estimates.
  • Schedule the project, using methods that are useful for one-person and multi-person staffing.
  • Discuss the importance of engaging others in appropriate project activities, and the challenges and strategies for doing so.
  • Describe the use of Quality Reviews and Change Control in small projects.
  • Describe the Deliver Phase activities and the value of each to the project.
  • Apply minimum-effort project tracking methods; evaluate project progress.
  • Describe the personal and enterprise benefits of implementing small project management.


Small Project ManagementThis session is for every subject area expert who spends time on small projects. We define them as taking to 360 hours of effort and less than three months to complete. Although this session focuses on techniques for managing small projects, the material can be very useful for larger projects as well.

Session Outline

1. Defining The Project

  • Challenges of Small Projects; Small Projects Characteristics; Ways to Keep Small Projects Small
  • SP0 Process the Project Request; Case 1: Project Request
  • Successful-Project Skills; Why Not “Just Do It”?
    • The Docu-Dilemma: Just Do It, Very Small Project templates
  • The 3D Life Cycle; The Small Project Roadmap; the Speedy File
  • SP1, the Define Phase; SP10 Size Project and Plan First Phase
    • Project Size; Project Risks; Your Charter; Case 2: Start the Project
  • SP11 State the Problem or Opportunity; Problem and Opportunity Analysis
  • SP12 Define Scope and Objective; Case 3: Problem Analysis and Objectives
  • SP13 Understand the Current Environment
  • SP14 Define Requirements for an Acceptable Solution; Case 4: Environment and Requirements
  • Small Project Road Map Progress; Summary: Defining the Project

2. Planning The Project

  • SP15 Establish Project Priority; Recording Priorities; A Priority Grid; Exercise: Establish Priority
  • The SP2 Design Phase Activities; SP24 Develop Test and Validation Plan
  • SP19 Review Phase Results and Plan Next Phases; Project Management Techniques
  • Plan Step A. Structure Next Phase; Structure with Re-usable Small Project WBS Templates
    • Guidelines for a Good WBS; Case 5: Structuring with WBS Templates
  • Plan Step B. Estimate Phase Activities; Activity Estimating; Using the Small Project Worksheet
    • Case 6: Low/High Consensus Estimating; Small Project Costs
    • Converting Effort to Duration; Case 7: Effort—Duration Conversion
  • Plan Step C. Schedule the Project; Scheduling With a Calendar; Case 8: Calendar Scheduling
    • Scheduling With a Gantt Chart; Case 9: Gantt Scheduling; Summarize the Plan
  • Relating SPM Methods to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
  • Summary: Planning the Project

3. Coordinating Results

  • Leading by Involving Others; The Key Project Roles; Strategies for Involving Others
  • Planning and Performing Quality Assurance Reviews; Case 10: Managing Reviews
    • The SP3 Deliver Phase Activities; Too Often Skipped: Testing, Documenting and Training
  • Controlling Change; Minimum Effective Project Tracking; Case 11: Tracking and Reporting
  • SP37 Customer Accepts Solution
  • SP39 Evaluate Solution and Process
    • Scaling the SPM Business Analysis and Project Management Techniques for Larger Projects
    • Benefits and Barriers of SPM Implementation
  • Putting the Learning to Work, Back on the Job: Small Project Management