We define a small project as being low in complexity, low-risk and low-budget. A small, project from Imagine Projects could include any of the following.
- A business relocation
- A building renovation project
- A conference
- A event of some kind
- A new depot or shop
- A research project
- A sales promotion campaign
- Developing an action plan
- Developing a business plan
- Developing a project proposal
- Developing a strategy
- Evaluation of current service or practise
- Promoting/launching a new service
The possibilities are endless.
There is nothing complicated about the methodology expressed in the form of the project life cycle that we have created for small projects. We use an acronym from the word IMAGINE. Our methodology is consistent with that adopted by the Institute of Project Management.
I = Inception phase
M = Map or planning phase
A = Action or carrying out the work
G = Governing or monitoring and controlling the work phase
I = Identify the project team
N = Nurture the project team
E = End and close the project
So, we begin with the inception phase or process
1 Inception Phase
At the project inception phase imagination and inspiration are key factors. Imagine what your project may look like, what it might achieve, who might be involved. Important aspects to include during the inception process are:
- Authorisation – who will ultimately grant permission for the project to begin?
- Initial scope – what do you want to include in your project, how much money may you need (Budget) and who will be involved (stakeholders)
2 Mapping out the journey
The project planning process. This is the most important phase and quality time spent on this phase will reap great rewards. Planning is vital for any project, small, medium or large.
- Planning the scope of the project
- Planning the schedule
- Planning the costs
- Planning the quality
- Planning the team members
- Planning how you will communicate
- Planning the buying
- Planning how to manage the risk
Following the map you have created you do the work. So, having spent some quality time planning your project using the steps outlined above. Whatever the project is a café or some form of building project the basic procedures are the same. It is really important to stay with your map and don’t deviate from the plan without considering the implications. Break your project down into small sections. We call this the WBS or the Work Breakdown Structure. Bit size chunks of work. Easy to manage and control.
Governing the work or monitoring and controlling. This process is also important because it will enable you to as it stay on track and not deviate from your map and get lost or bogged down in detail. Continue to use your map as your guide.
Identify and Nurture your team. People are the most important resource available to all projects. Good project management has a pastoral aspect to it. You want people to flourish and nurture them in their jobs. You will do well and your project will be an outstanding success.
6 E = Ending the project
All projects have a start and end point. Ending a project and handing the piece of work over to the customer is really important. Mark the end of a project through some form of suitable event is always good practice. Another good habit to get into is making a note of the lessons you have learnt through the life cycle of your project.
This diagram illustrates the flow from phase to phase until the project is complete: