What is the Definition of Project? How PMI Describes it?


The concept of the project is not far from our daily life or our business life. We all know pretty well what a project means, although we can't put into words what it is. We face tens, thousands, hundreds of projects in all areas of life. In our business life, we take responsibility for projects. In project management exams we come across questions about the fundamentals of a project. So in this article, we will not tell you what the project means from scratch. However, we aim to tell you with appropriate words what words we can define a project, what basic characteristics the project will have.

Every day more and more the term project imposed on our business life and daily routine. Even if it is not appropriate to a co-involve daily routine with the term project as their essences are different, so many tasks changing our routine can be considered as projects. 

According to PMBOK, a project is defined as “a temporary effort used to create a unique product, service, or result that has a definite beginning and an end." Accordingly, projects can be described as a set of activities that do not continue indefinitely and should have a defined purpose. Projects are done by consuming a budget, by using limited resources. All projects need resources to be completed.

When we step into the world of project management for the first time in our professional lives, first of all, the proper understanding of the definition and basic characteristics of a "project" is of great importance in terms of building the structure. Projects are a great tool of doing or simply creating something, it is also an opportunity to achieve the desired result by applying a systematic management approach.

Here in this article, we will try to convey some characteristics of a project. The project notion is usually misconceived as operations. This may cause dirt of common understanding while we are speaking about business around projects. Here are some characteristics of a real project:

Contrary to the common perception, having strategic importance is not a must for projects. Similarly, a project does not have to generate high income. A project does not have to be complicated. It is okay to manage small-scale projects and even sometimes necessary. A low-budgeted project may have great benefits for your organization. Additionally, small scale and less complicated projects can be a great opportunity for junior project managers to gain the maturity and experience needed for conducting complex projects. However, one should also note that In PMP exam all projects are assumed to be complex and large scale. 

A project must be unique! A project is an activity that enables the creation of a unique product or service, and for this reason, activities performed for routine tasks cannot be considered a project.  It is important to note that each building that an architect designed will have its own characteristics and will differ at some point even if they look similar and a product of the same campaign.

A project should be a temporary action. It cannot be open-ended. Projects must have a starting and ending date. A situation in which certain operations are performed repeatedly is called an “operation”. For example, running a restaurant is an operation, while organizing a party in a restaurant can be considered as a project.

A project should consume limited resources. There is no condition where a project manager can reach unlimited sources of both human and physical resources. Therefore a project manager has to control resource usage and should work hard to make resources available for the project. 
Projects get complicated and mature gradually and phase by phase. As projects progress, they start to have a tendency to be available for continuous improvement, which allows for more consistent and comprehensive plans. Even if a detailed plan was prepared at the first stage, within the scope of the project, as the projects go on, there will be circumstances that will require you to make decisions for the project to succeed. There will be specific measurements to make and measurements to follow.

When you feel that you fully understood the project definition, you will find out that you are able to tell about hundreds of processes that we do in our daily lives or at work that actually match with the definition of a project. More positively, if you learn how to address your tasks by forming a point of view that you used while managing a project, you may not believe how organized your tasks will be finished. Projects are inside our life. When it is also your job to manage them, then you are a project manager.

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