What Is a Project

Although we just examined the phrase software project /nanage/nenf through dictionary definitions and professional standards organizations descriptions, the individual terms are important enough to bear further investigation.

Two noted authors of MBA textbooks and specialized courses in project management provide these definitions of "project":

Harold Kerzner defines a project to be any series of activities or tasks that have a specific objective to be completed within certain specifications, have defined start and end dates, have funding limits (if applicable), and consume resources (i.e., money, people, equipment).^

James Lewis views a project as a one-time job that has definite starting and ending points, clearly defined objectives, scope, and (usually) a

budget; differentiated from repetitive activities such as production, order processing, and so on; a special activity with very tactical goals.1—1

Given these definitions, we can see how the well-known "PM Triangle" (Figure 1-4) was created. A project strives to deliver a product of a given scope, within a given cost and schedule, with a certain degree of quality. The PM's task is to balance performance (scope), time (schedule), and resources (cost). Yet, there are only so many degrees of freedom—it is rare that schedule, budget, and quality are abundant in unlimited quantities. We are forced to choose only one or two of the qualities as a primary pursuit. This is known in the vernacular as "the good-fast-cheap triangle—pick two."

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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