Fight in the Dog


“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” said Mark Twain.  Today, we released the “CHAOS Report 2015” report.   The CHAOS Report 2015 has a number of interesting charts and features.  One feature you might want check out is the new sizing chart.  We changed the project sizing from a dollar value to expressions. Expressions provide more clarity, flexibility, and allow for changing labor costs due to inflation and other factors.  Our project sizes have always been based on normalized productive labor costs. Normalized means we use a standard rate no matter what the real costs.  Our current standard rate is $100 per hour.  Therefore 10 hours of productive labor would equal $1,000 even if the work were performed in London or Bangkok. Productive labor means work that directly creates or delivers the product.

Productive labor includes software development, creation of requirements, quality assurance, implementation services, and training.  Productive labor does not include overhead cost such as project management labor, executive time, user time, general consulting and other overhead costs. Projects sizing costs also do not include package software, hardware, and any other product cost.  The purpose of the sizing is not for budget purposes, but for the effort to deliver and implement the product.  This is the true size of any project.

Our expressions are:

  • Small: is generally under a million dollars in productive labor or less then 10,000 hours of productive labor.
  • Moderate: is a million to 3 million dollars in productive labor or 10,000 to 30,000 hours of productive labor.
  • Medium: is 3 million to 6 million dollars in productive labor or 30,000 to 60,000 hours of productive labor.
  • Large: is 6 million to 10 million dollars in productive labor or 60,000 to 100,000 hours of productive labor.
  • Grand: is over 10 million dollars in productive labor or over 100,000 hours of productive labor.

We have found that smaller projects have a lot more fight in them than most of the grandiose projects that are needlessly bloated and lack punch. The new CHAOS report: 2015 Edition is available to members in our report sections of our website dashboard. Non-members can join in our store

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Subject Matter

Project Management Expertise

About the Author:


Jennifer Lynch

Jennifer Lynch is Communication Manager for The Standish Group. Jennifer’s expertise is to create and execute an industry, press and customer communications strategy designed to increase the visibility and awareness of The Standish Group, its products, services, and corporate citizenship initiatives.

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