Project and Project Management are two complementary terms that require proper understanding.
A project is defined as a specific piece of work or a unique endeavour with defined start and end dates, requiring resource commitment to accomplish the desired result or outcome. The goal of a project is to deliver product(s) or service(s) at a pre-defined quality within approved time and budget.
Depending on the organization or project owner, any event, activity or major undertaking, that meet the above project definition, could be regarded as a project. Some organizations classify most activities or undertakings as project items in order to ensure consistent coordination, tracking, monitoring and control of cost, time and quality. For example, an on-going activity may be setup as a yearly project with established time & budget. Other organizations consider only major undertakings of certain durations (for example, 30 days or more) as projects, and other activities as regular operational activities. The key consideration is to ensure consistent, clear and understandable criteria for defining and establishing an undertaking as a project item.
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Project management is a discipline that involves planning, organizing and controlling of resources (human, materials, equipment and money) to fulfil the project goals. It is the engagement of suitable resources and application of processes, techniques and tools to plan, manage and deliver project deliverables, which deliver the desired outcome.
A project is faced with key traditional constraints – scope (what), time (when) and cost (how much) to accomplish a corresponding product quality. These constraints need to be appraised at the initial stage and at every point where change is required to the agreed and approved project scope or when an unplanned situation occurs (for example, an unexpected risk). Delivering a project on time, on budget and to meet the desired quality are the key measures of project delivery success.
Projects can be placed in thee categories: transformational, maintenance and support. These categories are guides only for understanding a typical project, its strategic placement and importance within an organization.
Transformational projects: These are projects initiated to create new or modified products or services. The goal is to implement change and deliver value to the organization and clients. Examples include new road construction, a real estate project, a new gas plant, a new product and a new service centre.
Maintenance projects: These are projects initiated to sustain existing products or services that are still within their life cycle, and are considered relevant to the continued existence of the organization or its services to the clients. Examples include existing road maintenance, home renovations, system maintenance and refinery turn-around maintenance.
Support projects: A project is considered a support project, when its needs and funding solely depend on another project. A support project is approved based on the value it creates for and its strategic importance to the delivery of the main project. Examples include the telecommunication system for a new payment solution and a new road leading to a new production facility.
Above provides you a concise description of project and project management.