406.0 Determine Project Size

The LifecycleStep process should be customized and scaled based on the size of the project.

  • Larger projects may require most of the steps and activities specified in this methodology. A formal methodology provides the most value on larger projects, since they need more structure and discipline.

  • Smaller projects may not need much in terms of formal methodologies at all. Smaller projects can be categorized as Work Requests, tasks, or bug fixes.  These could still be required to utilize portions of the system methodology that add value, but there is a minimum requirement to update the Service Ticket documentation as necessary.

  • Medium projects need some level of structure in the middle. They need more methodology than the smaller projects but less than the larger projects. The project manager should use judgment and discretion to determine which activities to execute based on the requirements of the organization and the needs of the project.

Methodology Scalability

There are three factors that are most important for determining the level of rigor and structure needed on the project. The first is the estimated effort of the project. The level of effort of the project goes a long way to understanding the relative size of the project (small, medium, large) and the level of process rigor and structure needed. The general guidelines utilized by the TenStep Project Management Process are as follows:


Effort Hours


1-250 hours


251 – 5000 hours


over 5000 hours

In your company, the effort hours for categorizing projects may be different. However, in general, the larger the project, the more structure and formality you want in the project management and lifecycle processes.

The second factor is the experience level of the project team. If the project team is very experienced in this type of project, you might allow them to manage larger projects with less rigor, or at least up to a higher effort threshold. On the other hand, you may ask an inexperienced project team to execute a 2000 hour project as if it was a large one, since they may need more structure.

The third factor is the complexity and business criticality of the project. For example, you may want to manage a 1000 hour project as if it were large if the project is extremely critical to the business. Or, you may want to manage a 500 hour project as a small one because your team has executed two similar projects before, and therefore it seems to be low risk.

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