Professionals who are just introduced to project management wonder what makes project special. Today I am going back to basics and talking about a project and Project Management.

project-management

Let’s begin by discussing what is a Project?

As per PMBOK® Guide, a Project is, “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”

This implies that a project is not permanent. It can never last forever. The project teams are chasing some goal and once that goal is achieved they will be adjourned. A project produces something that was not available before, it generates an end result and a deliverable or a product.  A project may produce an end result on its own or a component which gets fixed or assembled with the rest of the elements and gets delivered. Oft times it may also produce a capability to perform a service  E.g. setting up a car service center, capability of running a car service center for certain duration is the Project.

It is important to understand the difference between a project and the operations. This helps us in understanding what a project in detail.

Project Operations
Temporary Ongoing
Project Management Business Process/Operational Management
Produces the unique product/output Produces the same product repetitively

At the end of every project, the operation has to take over to keep utilizing what has been created by a project. In short, the initial part of creation/architecture is the role of a Project and the maintenance part is all about Operations.

What is so special about a project?

The specialty of a project is that it is associated with an uncertainty since you are creating a unique product.  At the initial stage of a project you are making lots of assumptions and there is always a risk involved in those assumptions going wrong. It requires a different type of management.  Risk management, managing assumptions, managing work force are also unique in the case of project management. The project will always have higher estimation error than operations since all the estimation is done on the basis of assumptions and uncertainties.

You may wonder when we start a project, why do we need it at all.

We start a project because there is a business case, which tells us if you initiate a certain project so you can generate money out of it. There is a growth attached to it. But there is no defined path.

Whenever, a market or the environment puts a challenge to your business to think something new. This trigger initiates you to begin a new project.

E.g. when you set up a burger shop it is a project, selling them becomes operations. And, if you are faced with a competitor in the market, then that becomes a trigger to initiate a new project that is to bring in new products something different.

Often I have come across this question, “Is project is project?” Is the project management a cross domain or a domain independent thing? A person who has previously worked in a refinery project can work on a spaceship building project? The fact is that the core Project Management is defined by two sets of processes. One set is defined by the, planning, time management, risk management, stakeholder management, and these knowledge areas remain across the domains.

There are certain domain specific processes too. So, to be a good project manager, you need to have a good idea on domain related processes helps. My answer to this question is you will always find some overlap.

By now, you must have realized what a Project is and how crucial it is for a project management professional to understand it.

We also conducted a webinar on “Introduction to Project Management PMBOK® Guidewherein you may also find a detailed analysis on what is project management and how PMBOK® Guide helps in managing the project.  We have also discussed PMP® Certification in brief.

I hope this blog has sufficiently answered your all queries related to what is a project and what role does it play in the Project Management. Good Luck with your PMP® Certification Exam.

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