As with larger projects, the work breakdown structure must be created for a very small basic project: It can be embarrassing to omit this step and later discover that a work package was forgotten. In this type of project, the project manager should identify and recruit a project team (even if it consists of only three or four people) and gather them around a conference table and discuss the project planning with them. They should make out a plan and then work it. A single person, such as a graphic artist, circuit designer, or insurance actuary, may very competently perform a task but should not be left to work in isolation; simple IPM principles to keep in touch work well. It is important to have a project Gantt chart, to visit all team members during the project, to keep good communication flowing among them, and to keep their work coordinated, and by all means, the project manager should strive to finish on time. Small basic projects will often run on and on and never finish because the project manager did not bother to clearly define and coordinate the project.
A very small basic project often has a technical specialist acting as the project manager. In this project, this is a person who can and will perform some of the tasks. He or she will identify the other specialists needed for the project and will lead them in the project planning process. It is important that this project manager set aside some time to perform project management functions and realize that these functions must have top priority.
In some instances, a project manager may be responsible for several very small basic projects at the same time. The scheduling and timing of each project must be handled carefully so that no project gets short shrifted. Even though these projects may be managed informally, IPM fundamentals must be observed: The project manager should visit and communicate with team members and keep all the Gantt charts up to date. Overseeing multiple projects requires that the project manager be good at time management. Software packages, like Microsoft Project Management 2002®, can help, because they offer tools for planning and tracking small basic projects that are managed in parallel.