Projects can be used to solve problems, implement changes, or to innovate. Not all projects are the same (obviously) and therefore the way they need to be set up and managed varies. Some projects are small, well defined and it’s clear exactly what has to be done. These are relatively easy to manage and control.
Others may be set up with unclear goals, perhaps aimed at developing something innovative. Stakeholders may not be clear what they expect and it may be very uncertain how the project should even be carried out, particularly if there is little history of carrying out such projects. The challenges facing a Project Team in these cases are far greater and demand not only effective technical skills, but also sensitivity to people, politics and culture.
And, it can be particularly difficult if the senior managers who initiate projects don’t understand the differences and their implications.
There are four “typical” types of project which you might come across, or which you might be asked to lead, or participate in. Their starting points and objectives differ, so you need to recognise the differences and the potential impacts on your role.