Successfully managing smaller projects

A two-day workshop

The aim of this course is to provide an overview of the principles and practice for leading and managing a portfolio of smaller projects in a multi-project / multi-task environment. It presents a range of practical methods and techniques relevant to the smaller project scenario, using exercises and case studies to show how these can be applied.

The scope of the programme includes:

  • Key project management concepts
  • Project definition and stakeholder management
  • Project planning and risk management
  • Project control and change management
  • Project portfolio management

The course also emphasises the importance of the leadership and team-working skills needed by project managers and team members in carrying out their roles.

Learning objectives

The principal training objectives for this programme are to:

  • Explain and demonstrate the key principles of successful project management
  • Demonstrate a range of useful project management tools and techniques
  • Define the role, and help participants understand the skills required by, the project leader
  • Provide a structured framework to help participants manage multiple projects
  • Identify opportunities to improve project management within the organisation

Who should attend?

The programme is designed for project managers, project team leaders and project technical staff. Participants will typically be involved in managing projects or project activities in a multi-project / multi-task environment.


A thoroughly practical two-day course involving exercises, two case studies, formal presentations and tutor-facilitated discussions.

Special features

To facilitate the knowledge transfer and performance improvement process, we recommend that the programme sponsor both introduce the course and be present for the final session.

For maximum benefit, this programme can be tailored to incorporate internal procedures and practices. This can include reference to methodologies such as PRINCE2™ and the APM’s Body of Knowledge, if appropriate.

Expert trainer

John is a highly qualified (BSc, MSc, CEng, MIMechE, MAPM, AMInstP) independent consultant specialising in project and change management. He established his consultancy practice in 1990, following 20 years of industrial management experience, and now offers a wide range of management training and team development programmes. He also provides facilitation and consultancy services to help clients with specific projects or to assist them with staff and management development programmes.

Before setting up his consultancy and training business, John was a senior manager with Ilford Limited, a leading manufacturer of specialist photographic products. Having starting as a development engineer, he progressed through technical and team leadership roles and was appointed Manager of Engineering Development in 1980. In this role he was directly involved in a major company restructuring programme whilst managing a diverse portfolio of multi-disciplinary engineering projects. His project management role subsequently grew to include a range of business projects, including manufacturing improvement programmes and new product introductions. John was also involved in co-ordinating international technology transfer activities and in strategic business development studies within the Ilford Group.

John’s project management experience includes the design and installation of new manufacturing equipment, the development of new products, the improvement of manufacturing procedures, the relocation of offices and staff and organisation restructuring. John has also co-ordinated international project teams and carried out assignments in support of strategic business development programmes.

Prior to joining Ilford Limited, John trained in the automotive industry and gained an honours degree in Applied Physics. He went on to conduct post-graduate research in cryogenics at Oxford University for which he was awarded an MSc in Engineering Science. John is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Institute of Physics and The Association of Project Management.

John’s client base includes leading organisations in Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction, Defence, IS/IT and Education. He is an associate with Loughborough Business School and is a senior consultant and course director with a number of well-known training organisations. Whilst his work is centred in the UK, he frequently works internationally in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

A highly experienced, popular and professional trainer, John’s courses are always much appreciated by the participants, as the following comments show:

‘I really liked the practical exercises’

‘There was certainly a lot to think about’

‘John’s experience was excellent’

‘The group was encouraged to interact very well’

‘A very useful course’

‘A very worthwhile, productive and enjoyable two days’


1 Introduction (Course sponsor)

  • Why this programme has been developed
  • Review of participants’ needs and objectives

2 Managing smaller projects

  • Projects and project management
  • Lessons from past projects; the essential requirements for success
  • Differences between projects; characteristic project life cycles
  • Key issues and challenges of smaller projects
  • The multi-project world; project portfolio management

3 Project exercise

  • Syndicate teams plan and manage a small project
  • Review of the project exercise: What are the keys to successful management of small projects?

4 Setting up the project

  • Getting organised
  • Managing the definition process
  • Identifying and managing project stakeholders
  • Working with the customer to define the scope and agree deliverables

5 Case study 1

  • Defining the project scope and deliverables
  • Syndicate teams define the scope and deliverables for a typical project

6 Project planning

  • The importance and cost benefit of effective planning
  • Planning the plan; deciding how detailed a plan to create
  • Packaging the work and estimating timescales and costs
  • Developing project / resource schedules; setting milestones for control v
  • Identifying and managing critical path activities

7 Case study 2

  • Creating the project plan
  • Syndicate teams develop and analyse the project plan


8 Managing project risks

  • Identifying risks to the project outcome, timescale and cost
  • Evaluating risks and adopting an appropriate risk strategy
  • Defining risk ownership; keeping a simple risk log
  • Keeping risk management up to date; staying pro-active
  • Integrating planning and risk management

9 Project control

  • Managing change, minimising scope creep
  • Selecting the data needed to provide early warning of problems
  • Monitoring performance easily with ‘S’ curves and slip charts
  • Using trend forecasting to assess true project status
  • Running project review meetings

10 Managing a multi-project portfolio

  • Understanding the world of multiple projects
  • Establishing ownership of project / programme management
  • Classifying projects and creating the ‘master schedule’
  • Defining and applying project lifecycle management
  • Resource management: essential pre-requisites and mechanisms
  • Project prioritisation criteria and techniques; pain / gain analysis

11 Managing the multi-project team

  • Characteristics of small project teams / part-time team membership
  • Clarifying line and project management responsibilities
  • Implementing effective manpower planning
  • Establishing professional working practices in the team
  • Developing project management competences in the team
  • Establishing team roles and integrating team members

12 Course review and transfer planning (Course sponsor present)

  • Identify actions to be implemented individually
  • Identify corporate opportunities for improving project management
  • Sponsor-led review and discussion of proposals
  • Conclusion

Any questions? Please just give us a call on 01582 463463 – we’re here to help!