Monday, 1 February 2010

What is a project?

Maybe it is a good opportunity at the beginning of a year for you to reassess what project categories your company is involved with. We analysed the following in the first chapter of our book: client based projects, bread and butter projects, investment projects, maintenance projects, quick fix projects, R&D projects, good will projects, and pitches/tenders to win projects.

We suggested there that you identified and categorised the types of project you dealt with over the last year to see how and where your time and efforts have been deployed. Try it again. What projects have been most profitable? What projects have generated more business? Which projects have increased your company status? And so on ... Monetary return may not always be as straightforward in terms of the progress of a company. Looking back at projects can help you devise strategies for the future in terms of which projects may have to most impact – even in these uncertain times.

Perhaps we need to go back to some basics like ‘what is a project?’ Here are some views.
For those looking for a formal definition of a project the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists.
What is a Project? Module by: Merrie Barron, Andrew R. Barron.

A project in business and science is a collaborative enterprise, frequently involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.
Wikipedia: Project

But cnx differentiate between a project that is new and unique and an operation in business that is a repetitive process. Where does this leave us with web site revisions (maintenance?) and micro sites (small client projects?) Are they new projects or not projects at all, just part of a process; and if that is so, should project management tenets be applied in their production?

We have argued previously that they should be considered separate projects and costed out with time, resources and expenditure. We still maintain that, in fact. They can be grey areas but they do have new or different objectives and therefore represent a unique product or service even if they are refinements of a previous attempt.

Well, agree or disagree?