Most experienced consultants agree that it is best to keep project durations short. It is difficult to define the objectives for long projects. The likelihood of achieving goals that are not even defined properly is low. This makes it difficult to ensure that the results of the project are worth the efforts put into it.
This does not mean that you can not have a long term roadmap. Even if you have a long term plan, you need short term plans for all phases of the project. Whether you are planning an IT project or taking part in target sports, your aim is likely to be much more accurate in case of short distance targets than long distance ones. The reason for this is that as the target moves farther away, it becomes more and more difficult to see it clearly and to focus on it.
Something may be an ideal course of action at present, but it is likely to be off by about 20% after a year. The reasons for this are many; these include the entry of new competitors, enhanced skill set, changed business economies and change in technology. This means that if your plan to invest $3 million in a 3 year project, your vision is likely to be off by about 20%, 36% and 50% respectively after the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd year because of compounding year-on-year change. Instead, better results can be achieved by investing the same amount in 3 one year projects.
Effect of Small Project Duration on the Bottom-line
As far as the bottom-line is concerned, there is no doubt that short duration projects offer more value than longer ones. It is possible to gain a 10% increase on the value for dollar by opting for 6 month projects over one years ones. In the current volatile financial climate, this can make a huge difference.
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