What Makes a Project

The industry defines a project as a temporary endeavor, undertaken to create a unique product and service. So, you will know a project when you are presented with one because it will have those identifying features:

■ It' s unique from any other projects or work processes.

■ It's temporary—it might last several months or even years, but does inevitably come to a close. A project has a definite beginning and a definite end.

Projects are also often defined by other characteristics: They're performed by people; constrained by resources that are in some way or degree limited; and planned, executed, and controlled.

One of the key elements in differentiating between a project and a business process is that business processes are ongoing. They don't end; their purpose is to sustain day-to-day business activities. A staff of server administrators who manage the ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting of your server farm are going through ordinary business practices. A server administrator who's installing a new e-mail server is participating in a project.

Projects are temporary. They end at some point. Table 2.1 lists some typical IT activities that might be construed as projects versus those that might be considered ongoing processes.

Table 2.1: Some IT Projects vs. Processes (continued)

Projects

Processes

Upgrading from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000

Adding mailboxes to an Exchange server

Changing out 10Base-T hubs to 1000Base-T (gigabit) switches

Keeping the hubs' firmware current

Writing a new software program to provide a GUI screen for a user's mainframe session

Configuring a 3270 emulation program to communica te with the mainframe

Installing and configuring a new enterprise systems management program such as Tivoli, CA Unicenter,

Maintaining the

Table 2.1: Some IT Projects vs. Processes (continued)

Projects

Processes

Microsoft Systems Management Server, or Novell ZENWorks

inventory

mecha

nism of an

enterprise

systems

manageme

nt solution

Implementing a new antivirus scanning product on all

Updating

desktops

the

antivirus

product to

the latest

virus

signature

file

Installing a new phone system

Adding

new users

to the

telephone

database

Changing out a T1 circuit with an OC-3 connection

Monitoring

performanc

e of a T1

circuit

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