Here are Five Core Documents Needed for All Projects

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

We believe that project management processes and templates should be applied scalably on a project. This means that large projects need more rigor and structure, while smaller projects can be managed more lightly.

Of course, if your project is only five hours long, it is possible you will not follow any specific process. However, let’s assume that we have a piece of work that is small, but still large enough to be managed as a project.

Even though small projects do not need a lot of rigor and structure, they still need some.

Here is our list of documents (or document types) that should be part of all projects – big projects for sure, but smaller projects as well.

Here are Five Core Documents Needed for All Projects

  1. “Chartering” document

    All projects need a document that defines the work requested. For a large project, this may be a project charter and scope statement. However, even small projects need something to request a project to start. You don’t want to start a project based simply on verbal requests. Sometimes these small project documents are called “service requests”. You need something.

  2. Schedule

    All projects need a schedule – even small ones. The schedule tells you the set of activities required to build the deliverables on your project, and the work required to manage the project. The size of the schedule and the tool used are all scalable. For a large project you might use a scheduling tool. For a small project, perhaps you use Excel or a Word table.

  3. Status updates

    Once you start the work, you need to provide periodic updates to the project sponsor and other interested stakeholders. This is true for large projects and small projects as well. The format of the status report can be scalable. For a small project, perhaps you just send a weekly email to your sponsor and other interested stakeholders. But you need something.

  4. Scope change log

    This one might be more controversial, but we think scope change should be managed on all projects. Not managing scope effectively can turn a small project into a medium project, and can make large projects drift. It does not take much. We recommend a simple scope change log for all projects to track the state of all scope change requests.

  5. Project approval

    When the project is over you need something that signifies acceptance of the project deliverables so the project can close. This could just be a signature on a closure document.

Many organizations like to have a lot of templates to choose from for managing projects. It is true that the larger your project, the more documents you need to be effective. But even small projects need a few formal documents. The five above should be a part of every project.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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