Projects vs Operational Work

Organizations perform work to achieve a set of objectives. In many organizations the work performed can be categorized as either project or operations work.

These two types of work share a number of characteristics as follows:

• Performed by individuals,

• Constrained by limited resources,

• Planned, executed, and controlled, and

• Performed to achieve an organization's strategic plan.

Projects and operations differ primarily in that operations are ongoing and repetitive, whiie projects arc temporary and unique. Although a project may span several years, it has a defined beginning, purpose, and end. The function of a project is to attain its objective and terminate. Conversely, operations work is ongoing and sustains the organization over time. Operations work does not terminate when its objectives are met. Instead it follows new directions to support the organization's strategic plans.

Operations work supports the business environment in which projects function. As a result, there is a significant amount of interaction between the operations departments and the project team as they work together to achieve project goals. An example of this is when a project is created to redesign a product. The project manager may work with multiple operational managers to research consumer preferences, draw up technical specifications, build a prototype, test it, and begin manufacturing.

The participation of resources from operations will vary from project to project. One example of this interaction is when individuals from operations are assigned as dedicated project resources. Their operational expertise is used to assist in the completion of project deliverables by working with the rest of the project team to complete the project on time and on budget.

Depending on the nature of the project, the deliverables may modify or contribute to the existing operations work. In this case, the operations department will integrate the deliverables into future business practices. Examples of these types of projects include, but are not limited to:

• Developing a new product or service,

• Installing products or services that require ongoing support,

• Internal projects that affect the structure, staffing levels, or culture of an organization, or

• Developing, acquiring, or enhancing an operational department's information system.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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  • barry
    What is operational work?
    7 months ago
  • Iggi
    How to define a project versus operational work?
    7 months ago

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