Thursday, June 02, 2005

What is a project?

Before we get too far with our discussions about project management we need to come to a common useful definition of a project. A quick Google search for the definition of the word project brought back a number of useful definitions and some interesting ones...

  • a planned undertaking from
  • A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service. Temporary means that the project has an end date. Unique means that the project's end result is different than the results of other functions of the organization. From {EDITOR'S NOTE: What a wonderful definition}
  • A complex assignment involving more than one type of activity and production. Projects can take a variety of forms, some examples are a mural construction, a shared service project, or other collaborative or individual effort. From
  • A structured undertaking (often involving considerable money, personnel and equipment) of limited duration that is developed through various bureaucratic, analytical, and approval processes in order to achieve a tangible objective (eg, a school construction project, an adult literacy project). A project should be considered as one of several types of activities that contribute to a given result or set of results. (See Activity.)

Look at the wonderful range of definitions and also the number of different organizations that have felt the need to document a definition.

Almost every university teaches something about surprise. It appears in an encyclopedia...big duh! But check it out people in the Cathedral building business are talking about it. So is the US Government. There were definitions from public schools, service organizations, state governments. This is important stuff...check it out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Good evening. I have started this blog to begin a discussion regarding project management. Specifically project management on the large scale.

Project Management is important not just because every one does it all the time. It is important because when done well it adds a lot of value to people, organizations, society and mankind. Done poorly it provides interesting news headlines.

So what makes Project Management hard? After all every one does it. Just like that other thing every one does. Moms do it. Dads do it too...but only grudgingly. Business people do it. Bosses do it and so do the subordinates. Hospitals do it. Churches do it. Insurance companies do it. Manufacturing companies do it. Hollywood does it. Politicians are masters at it. They get a lot of practice doing it.

However who can remember a large (multi - million, disciplinary, year, system) project that came in on budget and on schedule. How about two in a row?