Project management - Breaking down the job - part 4

A very important rule of thumb when breaking your Windows-based project

down into manageable tasks is to break them down into tasks that can be

completed in 80 hours or less. This allows you to create a tangible

deliverable that can be completed within a 2-week period and prevents

people from reporting that they are close to being done when they are

only 10% complete.

One of your tasks could be to "create domain controller installation

checklist", for example. Since this is something that could be created

in 80 hours or less, it would be an appropriate task to be tracked on

your project plan. However, a task such as "create active directory

design document", would not be able to be completed in less than 80

hours, and should be further refined into smaller tasks.

Remember that tasks don't need to take the entire 80 hours, they just

have to take "less than" 80 hours. So simple tasks that you want to

track such as "identify schema admins", may only take 16 hours to

determine who should be a schema admin for your Active Directory, and it

would still be a reasonable task to include on your project plan.

By following this simple "80-hour" rule, your project will be easier to

manage and track, making you more successful in your next Windows-based


Note: This information was derived from Keane's Principles of Project

Management. For more information contact Keane at

See you next week when we will talk about "change control" and the

importance of change management in your project.

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