15 Tips for Managing Small Projects
Many online articles deal with the management of large-scale, long-duration projects. However, small projects make up a significant number of the total projects completed globally. But, small projects can be simplified by using these 15 tips to manage them.
1. Avoiding Overkill Is Key to Managing Small Projects
Do not over complicate a small project. Small projects should be completed quickly and within budget easily. Also, changes in project scope should be minimal in small projects.
2. Make a List
The fastest way to manage small projects is by making a list. Since the project’s size is not as extensive as some larger projects, you may be the only project management professional dealing with it. However, you still need to make a list to avoid overlooking anything.
3. Identify Roadblocks
Even small projects will have some roadblocks and problems. Try to look ahead to see what problems are likely to occur as well.
4. Assign Tasks
If you work with a contractor, designer or other professional throughout your small project, assign tasks as needed.
5. Define the Project’s Goals
Small projects can and often do fail if goals are not defined at the start. Identify the goals of the project, and create processes to meet these goals.
6. Define Deliverables
Goals naturally lead to the creation of a set of deliverables. Unlike goals, deliverables refer to the actual tasks and activities in groups that make up major portions of a small project.
7. Set Deadlines
All deliverables should have a preliminary and final deadline. This allows for enough time to complete tasks while preparing for potential changes.
8. Plan a Life Cycle
Small projects should have a life cycle. For example, a home’s renovation may be broken into wiring, plumbing, plastering and painting cycles.
9. Outsource When Appropriate
You may be able to reduce overall costs by outsourcing when and where appropriate. In some cases, you may be required to outsource specific processes by local or state laws, such as inspecting requirements.
10. Use Different Media in Planning and Management
Small projects can easily result in missed opportunities for saving time and money. Use different media to view small projects from different angles.
11. Simulate if Possible
Prices and time constraints change. As a result, project managers should simulate a project’s tasks and activities if possible. This can be as simple as making projections on how the costs of building materials may change over a 30-day period and calculating impact on budget.
12. Track Time and Budget
Always monitor your schedule and budget.
13. Set a Final Due Date
Small projects should have a final due date, and this date should not be moved at all. This keeps projects from growing stale.
14. Check for Quality
Check for quality throughout the project.
15. Test Your Project for Accuracy and Usability
Upon completion, make sure your project functions or meets its usability goals.
Key Things to Remember
- Keep small projects simple with lists, and identify risks.
- Define goals, tasks, responsible parties, deadlines, the project life cycle, deliverables and a final due date.
- Outsource what is outside of your scope of practice.
- Use different media, and simulate project outcomes.
- Perform quality assurance checks, and test a project for completed value.