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What is a Project

What is the definition of a project? People often say to a job at hand that they will make a special project out of it. But sometimes the job that has to be done doesn’t really qualify as a project. The problem could be that those kind of self proclaimed ‘projects’ are never really ending and can go on and on and on in an organization.

Project management is not a label you have to put on all kinds of work processes, to just get people fully behind it. The main focus of a project has to have a specific goal or result you want to reach. The road to this result is reasonably know, but has to have more elements in it than just a routine job.

The characteristics of a project

Doing a job or getting an order or commission from someone doesn’t always mean you really need to organize a full scaled project. Sometimes it;s just routine work and you do not want to over organize. If you want to check if the job your about to start really needs project management for the best result, you really should check if it is in line with the main characteristics of a project, which are as follow:

a project
  • It has to be temporary (no on going process)
  • It has a defined start point
  • It has a defined endpoint
  • It serves a specific goal
  • It focuses on specific results
  • It has a client or top manager
  • It has a specific budget
  • It contains multiple disciplines of work

If one or a few of the above definitions are not present at your ‘project’, you should re-evaluate if the job really is a project in the first place. It could be that you just have some loose things to do, or just a simple or repeating activity that really should not be handled the same way as a a project.

And it;s not just construction projects that are the most obvious to be labeled a real project. It can be anything from event organization to software engineering and restructuring a business unit.

Speaking the same language

It is very important in an organization to speak the same language as it comes to project management. The understanding of the elements of a project is the first step, but all other project management subjects should be shared with project-teams and supporting personnel. There are many teachings on project management. Sometimes with a different angle and different language, but the essence of project management is the same for the most part of these teachings.