Types of Projects

How do projects differ?

A useful way of defining differences between projects is according to differences in:

Complexity
Risk to the University
Project Budget ($)

The relationship between the three aspects is not always simple. Low $ projects can still be complex and might involve significant risks to the University.

For example, a requirement to conform to a particular safety standard might involve a low $ project budget but the consequence of the project failing might result in high risks to the University.

Risks can be defined in both quantitative ($) and qualitative terms.

Loss of prestige or environmental damage are risks that are difficult to define in $ terms.

High $ projects can sometimes be less complex than low $ projects.

For example a large building complex might involve a high budget with high risks attached but because the building industry has well-established project management methods the level of complexity might be lower than for an organisational change project which has a much lower $ project budget.

One way of assessing the potential complexity of a project has been suggested by Turner and Cochrane who have developed a 'Goals and Methods Matrix'.

Goals and Methods Matrix

From this Matrix we can assess if the project is Well Defined. Projects can also be defined as "fuzzy projects", that is projects that have unclear goals, where some time is needed in defining the project. Both types of projects can be viewed in the following pages. Well Defined Projects and Fuzzy Projects.

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