Large Scale Projects, Explained

Sometimes in business you have to think big in order to taste success. There are almost 8,000 companies in the US with more than 2,500 employees and businesses that operate on this scale will all need to have a grand plan in place just to stay still, let alone grow further.

But how do these companies ‘think big’ and still maintain an ability to deliver on their grand ambitions?

What is ‘large scale’?

First of all, what is ‘large scale’? This will mean different things to different people and it’s all relative to the business in question. If you’re thinking of launching a product or service that you’ve never tried before or at a speed or scale that you’ve never attempted before then this might well justify ‘large scale’ for you and your business. Large scale projects are often those that chase big rewards and, as a result, also carry a big risk. You need to be aware that the scale of the project and the scale of the challenge are linked and that you have to take this seriously to succeed.

Project management

This is why project management is so important. If you don’t have one or two people taking the bull by the horns and leading the delivery of the project, then you’ll struggle. Project managers will need to break the task down into small stages, 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.

Get this right and you’ll address any problems before they even emerge. Get it wrong and problems will lurk beneath the surface and rear their ugly head when you need them least.

Outsource or in house

Once a project manager has sunk their teeth into your scheme you’re likely to have some decisions to make. Chiefly, can you handle the project yourself or do you need to call in some support?

Outsourcing can ensure that you get some tasks done quicker or without the need to invest in equipment or skills for your own company. The decision needs to be based on a consideration of quality, timing, cost and expertise.

The devil is in the detail

It’s worth stressing that large scale projects still rest on very small decisions. One small mistake could scupper your efforts and bring the whole thing down like a house of cards. Take a large scale construction such as an airplane or wind turbine, for example. These are complex industrial constructions where everything matters. Consider the painting alone. Without the right surface preparation in a blast room and controlled conditions, these structures would suffer serious damage as a result of their exposure to the elements and require costly repairs very quickly. It might seem like one small part of the process, but it’s vitally important.

Beyond one market?

What if large scale takes you into a different market? The biggest business projects often span multiple countries, which brings cultural and linguistic challenges. It’s important to understand the market in any country that you wish to do business in properly – including any rules and regulations that may be different to those you are used to at home. Entrepreneur has explored the issue of launching a business overseas further.