Even before we get our hands dirty with project management, it’s important to understand what is a project. After that, we’ll be able to understand and learn other project management concepts very easily.
Table of Contents
- Understand What is a Project
- Definition of a Project
- Purpose of a Project
- Objective or Goal of a Project
- Can only Organizations do Projects?
- How Big a Project Can Be?
- When a Project Ends?
- What Influences to Start a Project?
- Quiz Time!
- In which state organization enters after completion of a project?
- What is not an example of a project?
- What is not a characteristic of a project?
- Like this:
Understand What is a Project
A project is a collection of tasks which needs to be completed in an orderly fashion to achieve a valuable result which will be helpful for the stakeholders specially the project sponsor. So let’s dig deeper to better understand the concept.
Definition of a Project
A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Purpose of a Project
The purpose of a project is to deliver an objective or a goal. This objective can be tangible or intangible. The main focus of the project objective is to achieve a strategic position. The output of a project moves the undertaker of the project to the future state from the present state. This means, the project brings some kind of change in the current situation. So in order to understand what is a project, we need to better understand its purpose.
Objective or Goal of a Project
What is a project and what is its purpose! The two questions come hand in hand. The final objective or goal of a project can be any of the following three:
- Product: It could be new system, application, physical item, a component of a big system, correction to an existing system
- Service: It is a defined process or function, that once defined & created supports continuous and on going operations of an organization
- Result: It can be a document, agreement, application etc.
So the purpose of a project is to achieve any of type of result from the above three categories.
Tangible output can be something like a physical product, a software application, a document, or a service. While, Intangible assets may include a brand identity, brand image, good will, or reputation of the organization.
Can only Organizations do Projects?
Nope! A project can be undertaken by an individual, a group of people, a sole proprietorship, a small organization, a large enterprise, or multiple enterprises or organizations can do projects jointly as well. To be clear about this concept, we need to get back to the same question: what is a project? If we’re clear about the definition then we’ll be clear that anyone can do it: an individual, a team, or an organization.
How Big a Project Can Be?
It could be as small as preparing your class assignment, or handling your wedding party. And it could be as big as launching a satellite in the orbit of the earth. Or even a project to save the whole world! However, be sure that it is realistic and meets the criteria we’re defining under this topic of what is a project!
It depends about your purpose and scope of the project. The projects also depend upon the resources, which we’ll discuss in later articles. So anything, which satisfies the definition of the project, is a project!
When a Project Ends?
There are multiple ways and reasons a project can end.
- The goal or the objective of the project is achieved
- Due to certain reasons, the objective of the project can’t be achieved
- The resources required to complete the project are no more available including financial and human resources
- Some legal complications or causes force the project to terminate
- The organization undertaking the project is no more interested in the project and want to end it
There could be many other such reasons due to which a project can end either successfully or abruptly and without achieving the final goal.
What Influences to Start a Project?
Temporary nature of a project means it has a definite start and end date or time. It can’t go on forever. The temporary here does not mean that the output product of a project is temporary or perishable. It just means the project to produce that output is time bound.
There could be many reasons which can influence, rather enforce, an individual or an organization to initiate a project. A few of these factors are listed below:
- New technology emerges which requires the organization to upgrade
- Competition in the market can influence a new project
- Market or people themselves demand someone new or different
- Due to the changing political environment one has to think differently and start a new project
- There could also be social, environmental, or legal requirements enforcing the organizations to undertake new projects
- Organizations also initiate new projects to increase their portfolio and hence their revenues and profits
- A customer can also request for a project