December 30, 2002, 12:00 AM — 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 http://www.keane.com.
See you next week when we will talk about "change control" and the
importance of change management in your project.