Is a small project really different?

Lilin Liang, Stephen R. Thomas, M. Asce, G. Edward Gibson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The trend towards smaller capital projects within the engineering and construction industry has many implications for project management. Organizations executing predominately small projects typically handle more estimates, procurements, and subcontracts. Practices for managing large projects often are less effective for managing small projects. Research indicates that different approaches are warranted for the management of these projects. This paper, based on research conducted at the Construction Industry Institute (CII), outlines differences in managing small projects. It also presents the development of a survey questionnaire designed to evaluate small project performance and the implementation of project management practices developed for these projects. Data from 356 small projects have been collected through the CII Benchmarking & Metrics Program to produce performance indicators such as cost and schedule growth, change orders factors, and safety metrics. These are compared with metrics from 521 large capital projects, also from the CII database. Differences in project performances identified in early analyses will suggest that project owners are exposed to higher risks when managing smaller projects. This paper will summarize key finding of this research and provide guidance to practitioners in how to manage small projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2005
Subtitle of host publicationBroadening Perspectives - Proceedings of the Congress
EditorsI.D. Tommelein
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Nov 14 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventConstruction Research Congress 2005: Broadening Perspectives - Proceedings of the Congress - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 5 2005Apr 7 2005

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2005: Broadening Perspectives - Proceedings of the Congress


OtherConstruction Research Congress 2005: Broadening Perspectives - Proceedings of the Congress
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Benchmarking
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Collection Systems
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Project Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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