4 “Small Project” Mistakes to Avoid

It’s common to assume that small projects are simple and easy—until you try to do one. Small projects can be just as complex as their larger counterparts, and even seasoned project management consulting pros sometimes mishandle them. Improve your project management skills by learning to recognize and avoid these common “small project” mistakes.

1. Underestimating the scope. Ensure your small project has adequate resources, funds, and other support, and recognize its potential impact on other active projects. Dedicate ample time up front to ensure your small project can reach its objectives, and get firm stakeholder buy-in, even if it’s trifling compared to other initiatives they’re supporting.

2. Inattention to budget. Create, defend, and adhere to your small project’s budget just as aggressively as you would any of your larger projects. Don’t settle for a smaller budget than the project needs, in hopes you can “find” a few dollars later. Sticking to a budget is critical for small projects, because the lower dollar figures leave less wiggle room—even a small overage will be glaring.

3. Failure to dedicate enough time. It’s easy for small projects to get lost among the larger (and potentially more visible) projects your team is also juggling. Fitting a small project in amongst larger endeavors without dedicating the necessary time to proper project management could lead to project failure. Carefully plot your tasks, milestones, and deadlines. Get them onto your calendar, plugged into your master timetable, and then stay on top of them.

4. Lack of adequate resources. Don’t expect to “borrow” resources from other projects if you discover your small project is lacking something. Earmark sufficient funds, personnel, space, and time to each project individually, otherwise your larger projects may suffer, and your smaller project still won’t receive the support it needs to be truly successful.

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