Defining Project Tiers for Right-Sized Project Management

This concepts article will help users to define their project sizes using the TDNext. The user must be a Project Manager on a project in TDNext.


The discipline of project management includes many processes that can help ensure large, risky projects (such as replacing a highway bridge in a weekend) complete successfully. However, not all processes are necessary for every project.

It can be helpful to define the required activities for every project, plus optional activities that may be undertaken at the project manager's discretion. Having a defined list of tiers, or t-shirt sizes of projects that correspond to the rough complexity of the project can be used as a reference when determining what is needed for your projects. This removes ambiguity and creates consistency across your projects.

Example Project Tiers

You can use this example list of tiers as a starting point for defining standard sizes for your organization.

Tier One (Small)


  • Anything meeting the minimum criteria for a project, such as a significant application upgrade.
  • Could be comprised of projects that involve only one department,
    and/or cost between $10 and $30k,
    and/or 40-120 hours of work

Required project management activities

  • Project charter
  • Scope change management process
  • Kick-off meeting
  • Regular status updates
  • Close-out meeting
  • Project review

Tier Two (Medium)


  • Larger/more complex projects. The definition may change depending on the project management activities. Common criteria include level of risk, number of IT units/teams involved, expected time/duration, level of budget.
  • Could be comprised of projects that involve two to three departments,
    and/or cost between $30 and $100k,
    and/or 80-220 hours of work.

Required project management activities

  • Everything for a tier one project
  • Work breakdown structure
  • Communications plan
  • High-level risk management plan

Tier Three (Large)


  • The largest/riskiest projects for your environment.
  • If projects need to be larger than this tier, consider decomposing the work into several projects grouped into a program.
  • Could be comprised of projects that involve four or more departments,
    and/or cost more than $100k,
    and/or 220+ hours of work.

Required project management activities

  • Everything for a tier two project
  • HR training plan for the project team
  • Detailed risk response planning including appropriate contingencies
  • Clear work package definition
  • Detailed schedule, particularly for the most-constrained people
  • Clear contingency plans (e.g. contingency budget held by sponsor, contingency tasks)
  • Procurement management plan
  • Quality management plan
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Article ID: 34935
Tue 8/8/17 3:42 PM
Thu 9/16/21 1:28 PM

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