Project sizing – OPEN

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Topic 8.7: Project sizing

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The burning question that remains is, how much is enough – how big does a project plan have to be?

You should intuitively realise that not every project needs a human resources or finance plan – but does every project need a risk register too? What about a WBS?

One benchmark you can apply to determine which project documents need to be used and when, is the level of risk the project poses to the organisation.

Remember this?

Organisational risk assessment matrix

We used this in our business case to assess the risk posed by each alternative to our organisation.

The only change here is that we’ve added cost back in as a criterion – at the business case level we assessed it independently.

So how does it work here?

Theoretically at least, the lower the risk a project presents to an organisation, the easier the project is to deliver. 

The easier a project is to deliver, the less planning and quality assurance processes are required!

Here is a ready reckoner to project sizing and a framework for its application.

It is important to note, that like everything else in project management, this a dynamic process.

In other words, at the end of your alternatives analysis you may reclassify a project from medium to high risk.

Once planning is complete, you may decide that your medium risk project is actually low risk, and adjust your requirements accordingly.

Note, though, that none of these rules are inviolate, and the use of tools like the project sizing calculator will be ultimately subject to the unique contingencies of your projects and the preferences of your sponsoring organisation.

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