I am looking for a word to describe projects, work that is insignificant? I can't remember that. It has to be just a word that describes "work that is a waste of effort".
There's boondoggle and busywork.
If your audience appreciates the Classics, you might use Sisyphean, named after the legend of Sisyphus, who was forced to keep pushing a boulder up a hill only to see it roll down, again and again.
Worthless or pointless effort is sometimes described as nugatory.
It's not a word. They are a phrase of two words - White elephant.
In its original meaning, White elephant would not convey the meaning that you want. However, in a modern industrial world the allegory is exactly the effect of what you seek.
Frequently, in industrial corporations, executives would design and sustain grandiose facilities due to the elegance of the design and functioning. They should have considered a less elegant solution, that would have been a fraction of the cost. What is worse, workers would find the grandiose system too complex, that they actually took pains to skirt around it, to use simpler and more effective ways to perform the same tasks.
Such a grandiose facility, project or system would be referred to as a White elephant by the workers. A futile endeavour, ineffective solution and an efficiency-crippling asset.
The same term is similarly used by citizens of places where their govts and authorities had constructed grandiose facilities and buildings, which ultimately had no use or functions, but to sit empty and purposely, while sucking up huge amounts of taxpayers' money to maintain it from falling into decrepit devaluation.