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Project Management, Viewpoint!

What is a Project?

I’ve been reading the latest guidance on PRINCE2 (2009) and was interested to see how they define a Project:

A project is a temporary organization [sic] that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed Business Case“.

They contrast this with a Programme which is “a temporary organization structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits relating to an organization’s strategic objectives. A programme may have a life that spans several years“.

So, at first glance, a project delivers “products” whereas a programme delivers “outcomes and benefits”.  When you explore further you discover that a PRINCE2 project has six performance targets:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Scope
  • Risk
  • Benefits

So, projects do indeed have to achieve some benefits – that’s a relief!

I still prefer our definition of a project: “A Project is a temporary organisation that is created to deliver specific benefits, at a defined point in time, with agreed resources“.

For more information on how we help organisations to improve their project management capabilities, visit our Project Management page.

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