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What is a project?

Project management has a very clear definition of the project. Project - this is an action that creates a unique service, product or result; it is an action that has a very clear beginning and end. But is the concept of a project the same in all organizations?

What changes taking place in the organization or actions performed can be considered projects?

In each organization, you can find changes or actions that match the general definition of the project. However, each action, for example the report about quarterly company results preparation, cannot be treated as a project, although:

  1. it has a beginning and an end

  2. and creates a unique result for that specific period

Key criteria here due to which quarterly report can not be considered as a project is the fact that the action is repeating every quarter.

So, what criteria can be applied in different organizations when it comes to projects?

I share some of the criteria that companies apply when they try to determine whether a particular action can be classified as a project, which leads to the activation of the project management process.

Extra criteria that can define the action as a project:

  • cost: that is, if a change will cost for the organization from a certain amount, then this may indicate that there is a change in the size of the project

  • impact to the organization: if the change has a huge impact on the organization, for example, the organization enters other markets, strongly changes the direction of its activities, changes the structure of its information technology, etc. In such cases, the change can be treated as a project

  • number of stakeholders: if the change affects, lets say, 3 or more stakeholders, the organization may request that such changes be a subject to project management and its process

  • external obligations: in the definition of an organization's project, there may be a condition that if a change is initiated, due to legislation and other regulatory measures, in order to maintain the necessary control and clarity, the organization may say that the project is carried out in all cases where they are related to external requirements

  • involvement of external companies: organizations may decide that a change will be considered as a project in all cases if its implementation requires the involvement of other organizations

These and more conditions can be introduced into the general definition of the project, so that, only the most important changes in the organization, follow the practices of project management.


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