Reviewing The Classification Of Project Types Information Technology Essay

Modified: 1st Jan 2015
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Basically, the projects are classified according to the objectives and also with the development of Project Management processes and tools. In general the project types are ranged according to the attributes like size, type of project, time duration, cost estimation and scope of the project. These projects may be any world-wide projects costing huge amounts of budgets and also the small projects costing lesser budgets, and according to the Time Implementation.

Project Managers are responsible for selecting an appropriate project type at the beginning of project life cycle so as to analyze the problem associated with the project. A project type is important key factor when managing the projects. Pattern of characteristics are associated with project type for comparison purposes.

Earlier Projects were classified as construction type projects, petro-chemical type projects and defence type projects but in recent years most proactive industries (particularly IT), businesses and government departments have re-structured their work as projects. These projects includes any construction projects like Building a House, or Bridges, Dams etc and any IT Related projects like developing an web application may be anything which includes online shopping interface, designing and implementing a new system which includes hardware and software.

Basically any project type does include some features like the start and finish, Lifecycle, Schedule and Timeline, Budget and has to be Non-Repetitive and with efficient Resources.

There are four major classifications of project type. The type depends on how much is known about what needs to be done, and how much is known about how to do it. This project classification mainly focuses on the Stake holders and Organisation point of view on how sure and unsure about project.

[Eddie Obeng] ‘Identifies the four corresponding types of projects as Fog, Movie, Quest and

Painting by Numbers’.

1. Semi-Open or Making a Movie:

Stakeholders are very sure about how the project is to be done.

Stakeholders are unsure of what is to be done.

The Organisation is clear about the method to be used and has the expertise.

It needs to spend time defining what.

2. Open or Lost in the Fog:

Stakeholders are unsure what is to be done.

Stakeholders are unsure about how the project is to be done.

The Organization is attempting to do something not been done before.

The Organisation needs to spend time defining what and how.

3. Closed or Painting By Numbers:

Stakeholders are sure about what is to be done.

Stakeholders are very sure about how the project is to be done.

The Organisation is going through a repetitive project and knows the skills needed.

Written procedures, methods and systems are available to replicate what has been done in the past.

4. Semi-closed or Going on a Quest:

Stakeholders are sure about what is to be done.

Stakeholders are unsure how the project is to done.

The Organisation needs to spend time on defining how.

As a project elaborates it can move from one state to another; for example, the early stages of a business improvement project could be described as ‘fog’ as the organization knows it needs to improve performance but is not sure exactly where to focus. As clarity emerges, targets for improvement are set, moving the project into a ‘quest’ state, but the best approach to achieve the project is not yet clear. As the project further elaborates, the design and implementation details emerge which, when sufficiently clear, lead to the ‘painting by numbers’. During the implementation the project is predominantly in the ‘painting by numbers’ state, although it may at times need to revert back to ‘quest’ or ‘fog’ if unforeseen factors arise, requiring further elaboration.

As stated in the 1st Para there are different projects with different classification, and this classification of projects can be explained with respective of Eddie Obeng’s project types as explained below:

Project type

( description by Obeng)

General description


Management approach

Process Tools


First-time projects

We are not sure where we are going

We are also not sure how to get there

Not well understood

Not well understood

Proceed with caution one step at a time. Focus on the next beacon and carefully move towards it. Having reached a beacon becomes clear through the fog.


Entertainment project or Event management

We are not sure what our final destination will be

Once we have some idea we will know how to get there

Well understood

Well developed

Because the project management and production processes are well known, avoid spending too much time on definition and planning. It is better to concentrate on finding a good product, and the project process will be easily managed.


Product development project

We know what our destination is, but we are not entirely sure how to get there.

Not well understood

Not necessarily well developed

These projects require considerable research in the project initiation and definition phases, so a picture can be built up of a means and approach the final outcome.

Painting by Numbers:

Construction Projects

We know what our destination is

We are confident of getting there

Very well understood

Very well developed

Painting by Numbers projects are complex, and tend to be large and involve many parties. As time and costs are predictable, the challenge is to deliver within tight financial, time and specification constraints.

Real time example for Project types

If we consider any projects, stakeholders play a vital role for the success of project as they are affected by the project activities and do include project sponsor, support staff, customers, project team, users, suppliers and opponents of the project. These stakeholders have different needs and expectation. For example if we consider building a new house is a well-known Construction project that comes under Painting by Numbers project type. As stated in the above table, project process and tools for construction project are very well understood and developed.

Project Sponsor: The project sponsors have clear idea of the costs involved, when they could move in, and what type of home they could afford given their budgets constraints.

Project Manager: Project Manager in this example would normally be a general contractor responsible for building the house, needs to work with all the project stakeholders to meet their needs and expectations.

Project Team: Project Team includes several construction workers, electricians, carpenters and so on. These stakeholders would need to know exactly what work they must need to do and when they need to do it. They would need to know exactly what work they must and when they need to do it. They would need to know if the required materials and equipment will be at the construction site of if they are expected to provide the material and equipment.

Success of Project Types

Read more at Suite101: Project Management: The Four Types of Project


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