The Categories of Project Work

The following categories of work should be treated as projects and managed using project management techniques covered in this book:

  • The developmen t of new products, services, and information systems;

  • The redevelopment or enhancement of existing new products, services, and systems that involves new functionality, capability, or data and function;

  • The enhancement of an existing product, service and production system;

  • The installation of new hardware, telecommunications, operating systems, or development support software;

  • The development and implementation of new standards, quality procedures, and so on;

  • The termination of an existing product, service, or system; and

  • Research and development activities, strategic planning activities, and human resource development programs.

The other major IT and business work categories include consultancy, production support, and administration. The following categories of IT and business work are, in effect, process work and should not be treated as project work:

  • Consultancy ” The provision of expert advice to internal or external people.

  • Production support ” The maintenance of products, services, applications, hardware, and vendor software at the status quo. Activities involved in production support include defect repair, performance tuning, perfective maintenance, or reengineering of existing code and data; adaptive maintenance, which involves expansion of data size and alteration of calculation variables ; help desk and specific system consultancy, and monitoring of hardware and software efficiency and performance.

  • The administration of the IT and business group and its people (including human resource development).

It is common that these production support activities take generally less than five days in duration.

Many organizations define projects by size or cost rather than the specific work involved. For example, any activity over 30 days in duration or $50,000 is defined as a project. This definition ignores the fact that many significant projects can be undertaken using advanced technologies in less than 30 days. Further, it assumes that the processes of project management are applicable only to major projects.


There is no such thing as a small project.

Size Does Matter

Large and superlarge projects are completely different from smaller projects. Extensive research has shown that the dynamics of large projects (long time frames , high internal and external complexity, etc.) result in poor estimation, mis-managed expectations, and other dysfunctional results. For more information on the issues in managing large projects, see our Web site.

Although it may appear to be a significant overhead to apply the project management approach to small projects, the process of planning occurs more quickly. As discussed in the next chapter, although the process of project justification and approval may be different for larger projects, the project management process must be applied to all projects, irrespective of size.

Project Size

The most common definition of size of a project is:

  • Effort ”the number of people, the amount of time, and the costs; or

  • Deliverable ”the size of the project's outputs; for example, a policy project being implemented globally in all regions is a bigger project than one being implemented in only one region. [2]

    [2] For IT readers, measures such as lines of code or function points are typically used to define the size of projects. A project delivering 1,000 function points is a bigger project than one delivering 100 function points.

Figure 4.3 provides a basic guide to the sizing of projects. It is important to note that factors such as project risk and the technology used to develop the project can have a major impact on size. For example, a highly innovative medium- sized project should be treated as a large project.

Figure 4.3. Project size


We'll now look at the fascinating area of project initiation, justification, and governance. We also examine the overall project management process.

The P Files Episode 1: The Case of the Legless Project Manager

In one of our workshops, a participant introduced himself as Dr. John. I asked him, "What subject did you get your doctorate in?" He replied, "Oh no! I'm an orthopedic surgeon and I want to become a project manager specializing in the health area." Like the rest of the group, I struggled to understand why Dr. John would want to leave a very highly paid profession after undertaking many years of difficult study. He laughed and said, "Can I let you in on a little secret? I have been performing surgery for 10 years and, after the first 100 legs, they start looking the same. I was taken off-line to do some project work in the surgery and it was a lot of fun. It was so much more creative than cutting legs."

The P Files Team Comment

Process work can be very sophisticated, but it is still routine. Dr. John had discovered the fun of creative project work.

Radical Project Management
Radical Project Management
ISBN: 0130094862
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136
Authors: Rob Thomsett

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