Avoid These Pitfalls When Breaking Large Projects Into Several Smaller Ones

Carving large or complex projects into several smaller projects has a number of benefits (“One project vs. many”). But there are also a few pitfalls project management professionals should be aware of—some that are likely to cause headaches for the PMO, and others that have the potential to derail a project entirely. Be sure your project managers know about (and know how to avoid) these lurking traps.

Juggling a number of smaller projects has the potential to create additional overhead for PMOs. Disciplines such as budget management may be duplicated across multiple projects, sapping resources that would otherwise be consolidated. This pitfall is particularly concerning for small PMOs that are already stretched thin. Consider assigning some tasks the way you would if the original large project remained whole. For example, one person may be responsible for managing the budget or allocating staffing across all related projects.

There may be increased competition for resources when multiple projects are in the works. Staging resources efficiently could be more difficult when an array of different demands vie for attention all at once. To combat this concern, strive for tight collaboration between the various project teams. This enables each group to better understand where their demands fall on the overall priority spectrum, and will usually facilitate more effective resource allocation by all teams involved.

Deconstructing one large project into several smaller components is often a good way to achieve better stakeholder engagement, but occasionally the opposite happens and there is a disconnect between disparate stakeholder groups. When the focus of each small project is narrow, end users and champions may tend to be less supportive of others’ needs, or simply stop caring about maintaining cooperation when their project is complete. Good communication will typically resolve these issues by keeping stakeholders engaged throughout the entire lifecycle of the related projects.

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