Project Families and their Application for Project Evaluation


Stanislaw Gasik



There may be several reasons for project grouping. The best-known of them are achievement of an organization’s strategic goals (these project aggregates being called portfolios) or better management (for which we have programs). But sometimes it is natural to focus on another type of project sets. Consider a situation in which a project-oriented company invests in a new technology. The effects of such investments should be observable in projects applying this technology. So in order to fully analyze this project one should take into account the investment project and all commercial projects executed as an effect of the investment project.

Or looking from another point of view: consider a commercial project that delivers its products to a customer. When analyzing such a project one should take into account not only the project under consideration, but also all of the investment projects which made the execution of this project possible. There may also be other, non-financial reasons for collectively analyzing more than one project – like tracing changes in processes of project execution or tracing innovations introduced and used by projects. So there may be another reason for project grouping: analyzing them. This analysis in turn is performed for the purpose of better management of projects performed in an organization.

This paper describes project families, a way of grouping projects for analytical purposes originally presented by the author at the 22nd IPMA World Congress (Gasik, 2008).

Project parenthood relationship

Let us consider the following sets of related projects.

Example 1 

A project-oriented organization carries out a project for an external customer. There are two goals of this project: earning income and proving to the customer that the performing organization is capable of doing subsequent, probably bigger, projects.

Evaluating the first project must be related to effects of follow-up projects.

There is a relationship between the first project and later-performed projects for this customer: the former enables execution of the latter.

Example 2

A company carries out a project of developing and implementing a software system for a customer. But there is also another aim of this project: developing a software library to be used in other projects.

Again, evaluation of the first project must take into account effects of the subsequent projects; at least the parts of them which directly use this software library.

There is a relationship between the first project and those using the software library. The former project influences the latter ones.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally published in the January 2009 edition of PM World Today. It is republished here with the author’s permission.

About the Author 

pmwj24-jul2014-Gasik-AUTHOR IMAGEStanislaw Gasik, PhD, PMPflag-poland

Warsaw, Poland

Dr. Stanisław Gasik, PMP is an adjunct professor at Vistula University in Warsaw, Poland. He holds M. Sc. in mathematics and Ph. D. in organization sciences (with specialty on project management), both from University of Warsaw. Stanisław has over 20 years of experience in project management, consulting, teaching and implementing PM organizational solutions. He has lectured at global PMI and IPMA congresses and other conferences. He was a significant contributor to PMI’s PMBOK® Guide and PMI Standard for Program Management and contributed to other PMI standards. His professional and research interests include public projects, portfolio management, project management maturity, and project knowledge management. He may be contacted at [email protected].