What is a Project?

Project management word cloud






What is a project?

A project is an organized effort that has a distinct beginning,  middle and end.  This effort is undertaken with both external and internal constraints of cost, resources, time, and quality of results. . .  Oh, and the original scope of the effort may change.

That’s a clean definition.  As long as we all agree on the meaning of the included words we have no misunderstandings. . .right?

Then why is project managing a multi-billion dollar industry and growing?  Why is the need for standards and methodologies important?  Why are recent graduate coming out of school with degrees in Project Management?  Why are there conferences and Webinars, certifications and support groups for project managers?

We could look at this definition, dissect it, define each word, and get agreement on the definition of each word.  Then we could move to the phrase and repeat the process until we have … wait for it AGREEMENT!!

But, we may still not have understanding.  And, more importantly we may not be more successful managing projects, working with projects, understanding the practical nature of projects and how they fit into our corporate lives, indeed our lives.

Why?  Why is this focused, intelligent (let’s assume)  approach not going to give us the results that we seek?  Where’s the flaw?

Project are organized by people, not machines.  Projects are executed by people, not machines.  Project affect people, not machines.

People are complex organisms, much more complex than the most complex computer.  This complexity is our challenge as project management professionals (small case intended).

I’m on a personal quest to determine how people can be more consistently successful when working in a project driven environment.   This blog is an extension of that quest.  Come with me on the journey.