A project is a unique, transient endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits. A project is usually deemed to be a success if it achieves the objectives according to their acceptance criteria, within an agreed timescale and budget. Time, cost and quality are the building blocks of every project.

Association for Project Management

All projects have three fundamental elements: Time, Cost and Quality.

Time: scheduling is a collection of techniques used to develop and present schedules that show when work will be performed.
Cost: how are necessary funds acquired and finances managed?
Quality: how will fitness for purpose of the deliverables and management processes be assured?

Project management is about balancing these elements to ensure the project is completed on time, to the cost agreed and at the quality expected by the customer or client.

 What makes a project different from business as usual?

  • It is a temporary endeavour
  • It brings together a unique team, with a set of skills to deliver the project
  • This team could be resourced by staff internal to the company or be a partnership between the contracting company, 3rd party specialists and sub-contractors
  • It may have a number of work packages all contributing to the overall project.
Some examples:
  • A new computer system of software and hardware to manage business processes
  • The move to a new office
  • A new retail outlet for a high street company
  • A film is a good example of a unique endeavour with three phases to the process: pre-production, production and post production. There are other stages, development and delivery. All are specific and defined. By contrast a TV soap opera ( a daily or weekly show) is a continuous production line.

Uniqueness: A project is a one-time set of events. By stating that each project or task is unique, one is saying that the repetition of a task repetition cannot be a prominent feature. If this is the case, we would be able to solve the task once and merely copy or standardise the processes. A project may be similar to previous projects however it is unique in terms of timeframes, resources and business environment.

Constraints of time and scope: The feature of uniqueness also entails that a project must be enclosed both in scope (totality of work needed to complete a project) and time (there must be a beginning and an end). This delimitation may not be entirely clear from the outset, and it could even change during the course of the project, however if one experienced a permanent stream of changing tasks, it could be possible to say that this was no longer a single project

The fundamentals of project management

Managing a project requires skills in the following arears:

The term ‘project management’ refers to the application of knowledge, skills, tools as well as techniques to projects in order to meet project requirements. Project management is successfully carried out through the use of the processes such as:

  • Initiating,
  • Planning,
  • Executing,
  • Monitoring and Controlling, as well as
  • Closing

Projects can be divided into these phases in order to provide better management control with suitable links to the continuing operations of the performing organisation. Together, these phases are termed the ‘project life cycle’.

Project management is needed in order to manage projects effectively as well as drive them to success.

The procedure of project management begins with the decision to start a project once the need and the viability for the project have been weighed up.

Once a project kicks off, it is crucial to monitor the project progress at every step to ensure that it delivers what all is required:

  • In the stipulated time, and
  • Within the allocated budget.

The discipline of project management encompasses a set of core activities that assist with achieving project goals as well as objectives. It includes:

  • Planning,
  • Organising, as well as
  • Managing various project arenas through which required results can be attained.

The nature and scope of the project examines aspects such as scope, time as well as budget which restrict activities or set the limits within which project management must be controlled.

As part of the project management procedure, the project manager or those in charge of the project should make use of tools that help them to organise tasks, track hours, create a centralised location from where everything can be taken as well as collaborate with partners.

In order to make sure that the project is kept on the right track, it is essential to have project-control mechanisms in place. The correct amount of control must be applied as too much control can be really time-consuming. However, taking less control can make the project get out of hand.

A project’s success is decided on whether or not the project was finalised within the stipulated time period, within the set budget as well as if it has met customer requirements. The scope of the project scope is about the work which needs to be accomplished in order to provide a product, service or result with the specific features as well as functions.


Issues that can derail a project’s success, include:

Constraints of resources: A lack of resources – such as money, time, equipment, tools and specialised skills – can significantly influence the potential success of a project.

Complexity: A project consists of complex as well as numerous activities. The task must have some complexity before it belongs to a project. If the task were simple, most people would know how to solve it and the amount of organisational overhead normally associated with a project would not be needed.

Specified deliverables: Deliverables is a term that is used in project management to describe a tangible or intangible object that is produced as a result of the project.

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