How to plan a large scale project

Large scale business projects can seem pretty daunting. Whether you’re defining the word ‘large’ in terms of physical size or in terms of scope, these are tasks that are tough to tackle – taking time, money, effort and planning to pull off successfully.

Large scale means different things to different people, but for your business it should be seen as something that is either a wide departure from what you normally do, or is a larger version of your existing output.

If you have a project looming, then how should you go about planning for it?

Project management

You need someone to keep on top of a large scale project or it could very quickly spiral out of control. Having one or two people right at the heart of the action who you can trust is critical to ultimate success.

Good project managers are skilled at breaking down a large task into small steps that can be delivered, one-by-one. They’ll also, as this article notes: “…establish the overall aims of the project, pinpoint the resources – in terms of manpower and equipment – that will be needed to deliver it, assess a realistic timeframe for delivery and flag up any potential issues”.

This is vital work. Without it, your approach could end up being chaotic and doomed to fail.

In or out

Your project manager(s) should spell out the scale of the task in hand and, after that, it’s time to make a decision. Chiefly, will you handle this for yourself or get someone to do it for you?

Last year alone, £6.2 billion of business was outsourced in the UK and you need to weigh up the merits of outsourcing compared to the cost of investing in the right equipment and skills for your own company.

Think small for big results

While a large scale project necessarily involves thinking big, don’t forget to ‘think small’ too. By this we mean that it’s crucial to appreciate the importance of the little details. As we’ve seen earlier, project managers should highlight every small step that you will take towards your end goal and the things you’ll need in order to complete every stage.

It’s vital to be as specific as possible here. It’s no good to know that you’ll need a bit of surface preparation on some materials that you will use, for example, you need to get to the stage of reading up about the shot peening equipment that can do this for you and where to get it from.

These small details are so important. Put time and effort into getting them right at the start and you won’t be rushing around at the last minute or be forced to ‘settle’ for any old equipment you can lay your hands on at short notice.

Assess the market

What large scale projects have your rivals recently undertaken? You should always have an eye on the working practises of competitors to see what you’re up against and to make sure you’re keeping up with the latest trends in your industry. Not only that, but it’s important to set out performance targets for your own projects – track these closely and learn lessons for future projects.

Learn the lingo

Finally, does large scale mean taking your products and services overseas? If so, you need to think about the language barrier, time zone and cultural differences that you might come across. These aren’t insurmountable, but it’s best to speak to people in your target country to make sure you don’t get caught out.