22 Dec Project size and scope- 3 easy steps to make sure your projects are organized correctly
When organizing a project at the beginning, most would agree that it is important to break the project up into tasks, groups, milestones, touchstones- whatever your organization might call them.
However, when you’re organizing a project into specific tasks and milestones, it’s important to make sure each task is broken down into an appropriate size and scope. One of the key questions you’ll confront, for instance, is how small the subtasks should be to allow for effective management. The goal should be a level of disaggregation that considers all the following criteria:
- The subtasks must be small enough to be easily monitored and analyzed. It helps to establish a standard maximum size for subtasks to use as a guideline. In most cases, the more you can break down a list of tasks, the better your chances of accurately tracking and measuring their levels of completion.
- All required tasks must be represented on the list, regardless of size or perceived importance. Very small tasks may be rolled in with other subtasks, but any task that requires reasonable effort should appear on the table.
- Vagueness or gray areas within the task list should be eliminated as much as possible. You are trying to minimize the amount of subjective input required and thereby get a clear view of the project’s status.
There are a couple of useful benefits that arise when your tasks subsets follow these guidelines. For one thing, it mitigates the risk of inaccuracy by breaking down the tasks. It’s like hedging a bet. If you have properly segregated the tasks on your table, you have lessened the chances of inaccurate reporting. If you do record an inaccurate figure on a small subtask, it affects overall project completion status to only a small degree.
It also creates tangible touchstones for the project team to use in monitoring and celebrating short-term goals for the project. In effect, it builds in the milestones that any large project needs in order to be monitored effectively. By following the simple points above when breaking down a project’s tasks, your projects can be tracked with greater accuracy and increase your team’s effectiveness.
Source: Project Management for Profit by Roger Thomas, Joe Knight and Brad Angus, together with input from Joe Cornwell and Joe Van Den Berghe from Setpoint Inc. Setpoint has a 25-year history of successfully designing and implementing custom rides and attractions for the top amusement and theme parks in the world.