Contemporary business and science treat as a project (or program) any undertaking, carried out individually or collaboratively and possibly involving research or design, that is carefully planned (usually by a project team) to achieve a particular aim.
An alternative view sees a project managerially as a sequence of events: a "set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations".
A project may be a temporary (rather than permanent) social system (work system), possibly constituted by teams (within or across organizations) to accomplish particular tasks under time constraints.
Note that open-source software "projects" (for example) may lack defined team-membership, precise planning and time-limited durations.
The word project comes from the Latin word projectum from the Latin verb proicere, "before an action" which in turn comes from pro-, which denotes precedence, something that comes before something else in time (paralleling the Greek πρό) and iacere, "to do". The word "project" thus originally meant "before an action".
When the English language initially adopted the word, it referred to a plan of something, not to the act of actually carrying this plan out. Something performed in accordance with a project became known as an "object". Every project has certain phases of development.
Formal definition in the project management realm
A project consists of a concrete and organized effort motivated by a perceived opportunity when facing a problem, a need, a desire or a source of discomfort (e.g., lack of proper ventilation in a building). It seeks the realization of a unique and innovative deliverable, such as a product, a service, a process, or in some cases, a scientific research. Each project has a beginning and an end, and as such is considered a closed dynamic system. It is developed along the 4 Ps of project management: Plan, Processes, People, and Power (e.g., line of authority). It is bound by the triple constraints that are calendar, costs and norms of quality, each of which can be determined and measured objectively along the project lifecycle. Each project produces some level of formal documentation, the deliverable(s), and some impacts, which can be positive and/or negative.
School and university
A project is an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and researched about by students. At schools, educational institutes and universities, a project is a research assignment - given to a student - which generally requires a larger amount of effort and more independent work than that involved in a normal essay assignment. It requires students to undertake their own fact-finding and analysis, either from library/internet research or from gathering data empirically. The written report that comes from the project is usually in the form of a dissertation, which will contain sections on the project's inception, analysis, findings and conclusions.
In project management a project consists of a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. Another definition is: a management environment that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to a specified business case. Projects can also be seen as temporary organization.
- Measurable (or at least evaluable) achievement
- Achievable (recently Agreed to or Acceptable are used[by whom?] regularly as well)
- Realistic (given the current state of organizational resources)
- Time terminated (bounded)
The evaluation (measurement) occurs at the project closure. However a continuous guard on the project progress should be kept by monitoring and evaluating.
Civil and military construction and industry infrastructure
In civil, military and industry (e.g. oil and gas) infrastructure, capital projects refer to activities to construct and install equipment, facilities and buildings. As these activities are temporary endeavors with clear start and end dates, the term "project" is applied. Because the results of these activities are typically long-standing infrastructure, with a life measured in years or decades, these projects are typically accounted for in financial accounting as capital expenditures, and thus they are termed "capital projects".
In computer software, a project can consist of programs, configuration definitions and related data. For example, in Microsoft Visual Studio a "solution" consists of projects and other definitions.
It can be defined as "a set of state policies and/or agencies unified around a particular issue or oppression". Therefore, these kinds of projects involve constant change and dynamisim due to the social constructions evolve among time. State projects have to adapt to the current moment. They are mostly community services based.
Some analyses of project-oriented activity distinguish - using military-style terminology - between grandiose strategic projects and more trivial or component operational projects: tactical projects.
- Human Genome Project which mapped the human genome
- Manhattan Project, which developed the first nuclear weapon
- Polaris missile project: an ICBM control-system
- Apollo program, which landed humans on the moon
- Soviet atomic bomb project
- Soviet manned lunar programs
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Program management
- Project governance
- Project Management Institute (PMI)
- International Project Management Association (IPMA)
- Project management software
- Project planning
- Small-scale project management
Compare: "definition of project in English from the Oxford dictionary". English. Oxford Dictionaries. 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
Definition of project project in English: [...] An individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim [...]
- "What is a project? definition and meaning". BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
project [:] [...] Planned set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations.
Compare the somewhat circular definition:
Manning, Stephan (2008). "Embedding projects in multiple contexts – a structuration perspective". International Journal of Project Management. 26: 35. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
Two theoretical propositions have been made: First, projects as temporary systems are characterized by certain structural properties, in particular task specifications, time constraints and team relations, that guide project activities.
- Mesly, Olivier. (2017). Project feasibility – Tools for uncovering points of vulnerability. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis, CRC Press. 546 pages. ISBN 978-1498-757911. See page 52.
- Thomas, G: How to do your research project. Sage Publications Inc, 2009....
- Project Management Institute. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), Third Edition.
- R. Max Wideman (2004), A Management Framework: For Project, Program and Portfolio Integration. p. 30
- Turner, J. Rodney, and Ralf Müller. "On the nature of the project as a temporary organization." International journal of project management 21.1 (2003): 1-8.
- Carr, David, Make Sure Your Project Goals are SMART, PM Hut. Accessed 18. Oct 2009.
Compare: Hundhausen, Richard (2006). Working with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System. Developer Reference Series (2 ed.). Microsoft Press. p. 108. ISBN 9780735621855. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
After a design has been validated the Application Designer will generate a skeleton implementation with projects, code, and configuration files that precisely match the design.
- Deric., Shannon, (2011-01-01). Political sociology : oppression, resistance, and the state. Pine Forge Press. ISBN 9781412980401. OCLC 746832550.
Banks, Linda (2017). "What Is a Strategic Project?". Small Business. Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
Organizations can be good at tactical projects, such as moving to a new building or introducing a new product. These are projects that have one operational goal, which probably does not entail contributions by most employees within the organization. In these projects, meeting a tactical goal on time and within budget are key considerations. A strategic project, on the other hand, has a primary goal of gaining the competitive advantage by focusing on the organization's overall direction.
Williams, Todd C.; Kendrick, Tom (2011). "15: Dealing with 'Unprojects'". Rescue the Problem Project: A Complete Guide to Identifying, Preventing, and Recovering from Project Failure. AMACOM Division: American Management Association. p. 208. ISBN 9780814416839. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
The strategic project has a long-term goal to satisfy needs not included in the funding project. [...] a strategic project usually has scope as its most critical issue, while a tactical project has schedule, cost, or a different set of scope as the primary constraint.