Before we get into project management, we need to define what exactly a “project” is. Sure, you’ve probably been assigned countless “projects” in school or on the job, but what is the actual definition? A project is defined as “a unique endeavor to produce a set of deliverables within clearly specified timecost and quality constraints”. Projects are different from standard business operational activities as they:

  • Are uniquein nature. They do not involve repetitive processes. Every project undertaken is different from the last, whereas operational activities often involve undertaking repetitive (identical) processes.
  • Have a defined timescale. Projects have a clearly specified start and end date within which the deliverables must be produced to meet a specified customer requirement.
  • Have an approved budget. Projects are allocated a level of financial expenditure within which the deliverables must be produced to meet a specified customer requirement.
  • Have limited resources. At the start of a project, an agreed amount of labor, equipment, and materials, is allocated to the project.
  • Involve an element of risk. Projects entail a level of uncertainty and therefore carry business risk.
  • Achieve beneficial change. The purpose of a project, typically, is to improve an organization through the implementation of business change.