What Is A Project ?
 

What Is A Project ?

January 8, 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Projects are wonderful! Making up a project means to become active. Many possibilities and challenges in companies or private households are discussed until most of them are simply dead.

To discuss, to argue and to think about certain endeavours surely makes sense. But this stadium should end at the moment you have an idea about if you want to do it or not. If you really want to realize something that is not routine or daily grind for you just make-up a project and see what will happen.

A project is a unique endeavor which has various restrictions. First of all it has a specific goal which should be measurable, challenging, specific and scheduled. The end date of a project which is part of the goal leads to the first restriction: a lack of time. All projects are characterized by a lack of time.

Secondly, most project managers don’t receive sufficient resources like time, personal staff or money. That’s the second challenge. A project would not be a project if you had enough time, personal resources and money to achieve your goals. Exactly the opposite is the project reality.

A project manager has to tackle these challenges. Therefore he uses professional project management tools which help him to stay online and not to lose the overview. There are two main reasons for companies to make-up projects:

The first one is due to different urgencies. This may be a great chance or a big risk the company is surprisingly confronted with.

For example if the company recognizes an instant and strong decline in earnings or profits something must happen. Or if the customer wants to buy something you’ve never built or done before and he offers your company a great amount of money for this deal you must react in someway.

These two examples should give you an impression of the first reason why companies start projects many times.

The second reason for companies to make-up a project is the complexity of some internal endeavours. Very often they are interdisciplinary and a not subordinated to the responsibility of one department. So who should be the project manager? This question becomes much more complicated when departments in your organisation compete against each other. In most cases it’s the best solution to start a project with its own specific project organization.

Professional project management follows universal rules. This means it doesn’t matter for which of the reasons described above a project is started. The project manager will always have to deal with restrictions of money, personal staff and time. He always has to lead an interdisciplinary project team with its own unique and specific project organization for the time the project is going to last.

A project is always a commitment of the management, the leaders or other decision-makers of an organization to assign responsibility for an urgent and complex endeavor to a project manager. The endeavour doesn’t comply to established processes and daily routines of organiszations and requires an interdisciplinary unique project organization that is aligned with the specific requirements of the project.

To build a project organization and to choose the right project manager are the basic requirements of successful projects. It’s a difficult challenge for the management of an organization to find a manager who feels personally responsible for the success of a project and who at least knows about the basics of project management.

I think it’s obvious to see that there is a tremendous potential in such an approach. Declaring something as a project helps to focus on a certain endeavour while using the most effective and productive tools which comply to such a unique challenge.

You will probably achieve your goals without using these tools and methods. It is unlikely but it is possible. But even if you would achieve your goals, the quality will be worse, the project will be much more expensive and you will never finish a project in the same time.

Learning something about projects and the professional management of them even helps you to accomplish in private in matters. You can use this knowledge to tackle every unique and really special challenge that is coming up to you. Of course it makes much sense to assess the effort at first and to put it into relation to the expected benefits. But most important is the meaning of a certain endeavour for you personally.

The more important it is the more tools and methods you should use.

For the moment it is just enough to have an impression of what a project is and why you should use professional management tools in order to realize your personal challenges more effectively.

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