Types of Projects

Table 1.1 illustrates four types of projects. The horizontal axis categorizes projects by absolute deadline versus as soon as possible (ASAP). The vertical axis separates internal projects, generally focused on improving operations, and external projects, generally performed for profit. The answers to the above questions depend on project type. Table 1.1 also lists some examples.

Type I projects are absolute-deadline-driven projects for an external cus-tomer.Examples include proposals and major events. Requestors simply do not accept proposals after the specified delivery time. Therefore, proposal teams rarely deliver proposals late. Management usually responds surely and quickly to reward proposal managers who spend the time and money on a proposal and deliver it late. Sometimes, they provide the proposal manager an opportunity to seek employment elsewhere. Likewise, although there may be much adjusting of scope and expediting, other deadline-driven projects usually happen on time. They do not delay the Olympics; they finish the stadium (somehow). People seldom fail to have things ready for a national meeting or prebooked trip. People rarely bow out of elections because their campaign is behind schedule. In these types of projects, usually the money and scope changes, while holding the schedule.

Type II projects do not have specific externally driven end dates (although management may set one internally.) Many projects performed to make money (e.g., new product launch or the construction of a hotel) and most government projects fall into this category. You do not lose all of the benefits because of project delay. You just lose the benefits for some time. (This loss is usually understated or unknown.) In the case of projects that are not end-date driven, all three of the project variables (scope, schedule, time) may change.

Type III and IV projects often compete with each other for funding within a company. Type III projects frequently get higher placement on project priority lists because whatever drives the date often has a penalty associated with overrunning it. Finally, type IV project are the ones that often determine the future of the company. Companies perform type IV projects to improve the company in the future. Therefore, they are always better done sooner. Unfortunately, they often rank lowest in project priority lists, getting starved for resources, and extend on and on.

Regardless of the position of a project in your priority list, I assert "any project worth doing is worth doing fast,"The reason is that project benefits don't start until

Table 1.1 Four Major Types of Projects Determine How You Should Plan_

Absolute Deadline


External customer Type I:

Proposal, event, contract with penalties Construction

Internal customer Type III:

Y2K, regulatory

Type IV:

Product development, process improvement a project completes, while investment starts at the beginning of a project. Therefore you always increase return on investment by finishing as soon as possible once you start a project.

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