Large and small, internal and external, production and research… We can categorize business projects by size, duration, cost, principles, objectives and even the industries they concern. But why are the differences between types of projects important for business?

Types of projects – table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Scope of the project
  3. Project duration
  4. The complexity of the project
  5. Source of funding
  6. Project themes
  7. Summary


Is it important for project managers to answer the question of what types of projects they are implementing? It might seem insignificant compared to managing and effectively implementing the project.

However, knowledge of project classification becomes crucial when choosing the method of its implementation as well as prioritization of projects in the organization or the tasks in the project itself. Also, it significantly impacts the composition of the project team. Therefore, based on the available knowledge and good practices, we will look at the most common types of projects to prepare well for their initiation and implementation.

Scope of the project

The scope of a project may initially appear radically different to the person commissioning the project and the project developer. This is why it is so essential to determine in detail what tasks and budget to include in the list. Especially, in case of an external stakeholder runs the project especially a new client, the project scope is, therefore, a key concept that often appears in agreements and contracts. It depends primarily on purpose behind the project.

Defining the scope of a project is therefore crucial from a business perspective primarily because it allows control over the tasks in the project. The main task of the Project Manager’s job involves preventing uncontrolled project sprawl (scope creep) or losing sight of the purpose behind the tasks.

Project duration

Based on the duration of the project, they can be divided into:

  • short-term
  • medium-term
  • long-term

Defining the duration of a project is especially important when contractually setting a deadline for the delivery of a finished product to a customer, or organizing an event on a date planned well in advance. Defining at the outset what timeframe the project encompasses allows you to effectively manage time, monitor the budget and manage risks in the project.

While the project as such is a unique undertaking, we can also talk about one-time and cyclical projects. An example of the former is the modernization of an office and equipping it with energy-efficient lighting, while the latter is the annual tree-planting campaign on company-owned land. In the case of cyclical projects, it is very important to have detailed documentation of the project, including, for example, contact details of subcontractors or a comparison of delivery costs. This is because they will more than likely be useful for the next implementation cycle.

The complexity of the project

The complexity of a project is one of the key factors determining its method of implementation. This is because uncomplicated projects, whose results are similar to previously performed services or marketed products, do not require extensive management. If the team consists of professionals, methods such as Kanban or Scrumban work best for them.

types of projects

Source: kanban board from a free project management tool:

Projects with a high degree of complexity, on the other hand, require longer thinking about the choice of management method. The Project Manager must, first of all, determine the answer to the question: will it be possible to communicate with the client sufficiently to run the project in an agile methodology? Will stakeholders be willing to participate in the successive phases of the project, or would they prefer to rely on the classic cascade model and predetermined project schedule?

Source of funding

The funding criterion is another way of distinguishing different types of projects. Thus, there will be projects financed by funds:

  • internal
  • external (acquired)
  • mixed

Among external resources, it is worth mentioning public and private funding sources. In general, internally financed projects usually require much less documentation, since the project budget does not have to be prepared and accounted for according to the formal criteria of external stakeholders.

Project themes

Project topics are an important type of classification especially because of the professional specialization of Project Managers. To illustrate how diverse these topics can be, let’s look at a list of examples:

  • administrative project management – the Project Manager’s list of tasks includes creating the information architecture in the office and creating a team of people who classify documents in the archive
  • research project – the Project Manager is in charge of defining the purpose of the research, selecting the necessary apparatus and research methods, as well as the day-to-day conduct of research in the project
  • IT project – the project manager must not only have in-depth knowledge of the technology used but also be able to convincingly communicate the status of the project to stakeholders without such knowledge


Classifying types of projects can help you choose the best management method, write the best contract, and even decide how detailed project documentation will be needed. Clearly defining stakeholder collaboration, project scope and funding sources from the very beginning of planning can have a significant impact on the success and day-to-day efficiency of project implementation.

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Types of projects | #5 Getting started with project management caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

The most important questions

  1. Is there a generally accepted classification of projects?

    Actually, according to our experts, there is a single list or matrix to determine the type of project according to common rules.

  2. When I take a job as a Project Manager, should I know what type of projects will be carried out in the company?

    Many companies require Project Managers to have specialized skills in a specific field in addition to project management skills. Therefore, knowledge of the profile of ongoing projects is crucial.

Getting started with project management:

  1. What is a project?
  2. What is project management?
  3. How to manage projects?
  4. Project management methods
  5. Types of projects
  6. 4 examples of projects
  7. Prioritization of projects
  8. Areas of project activity
  9. Definition of success in project management
  10. Why use project management software?
  11. How to choose the best project management software?
  12. Overview of project management software
  13. Project life cycle
  14. What is the project vision for?
  15. Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
  16. Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
  17. The domain of planning in project management
  18. What is a project schedule and what is it for?
  19. How to use milestones in a project?
  20. Project execution
  21. How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
  22. Importance of project closure
  23. Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
  24. 4Ps of management: project, product, program and portfolio
  25. Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
  26. Most useful project manager skills
  27. How to become a project manager?
  28. 5 books every project manager should read
  29. How to set up a project team?
  30. Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
  31. How to lead a team during hybrid work?
  32. Challenges project managers face when working with a team
  33. Types of project meetings
  34. Project monitoring. What parameters to watch?
  35. How to write a compelling
  36. How to define the scope of a project and avoid scope creep?
  37. Feasibility study – can we implement this project?
  38. Risk analysis in projects and tools to facilitate it
  39. How to create a project charter?
  40. What is a stakeholder register?
  41. Gantt chart in project management planning
  42. How to create a project budget?
  43. Time management in project
  44. How to create a project risk register?
  45. Project risk management strategies
  46. Project marketing
  47. Sources and areas of change in the project
  48. Project management change models
  49. What's after Agile? Methods in project management