Identifying Project Characteristics

A Project and it’s Purpose

Believe it or not, the set of tasks sitting on your desk are projects. They have a set scope statement, a schedule and a list of activities that need to be completed prior to moving on to a greater event or activity. Often, professionals may make the mistake of diminishing a value of  a task by not escalating it to a project, and it may sit for days, weeks or even months unfinished because it’s lacking the proper project controls.

Every project has a very specific goal in mind that must be noted in the scope statement. The scope statement is extrapolated by the project manager who understands the unique, identifiable needs within the statement and standardizes the actions around the project to develop schedules, outline resources and conduct risk assessments.

Project managers are responsible that these activities are not only executed against a baseline schedule but continuously follow the mission and vision of the overall project.  It is essential to assess the events that are constrained by the project limitations including but not limited to time, budget, a customer requirement and other defined success criteria. 

Characteristics Differentiating Projects from Operational Functions

Systematic operations are already embedded in the functional areas of the business (marketing, human resources, sales, leadership, etc.) from the start.  Systematic operations are processes and procedures and remain a separate function from the project process. Implementing a project process structure addresses the project-based work that may arise outside of the commonly occurring activities. 

Common characteristics used to differentiate projects from operational functions include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Ad hoc events with a clear life-cycle:Typical of non-traditional projects that have pre-existing resources and a clear disbandment of operations in the future. Ad hoc events are used primarily in short-term goal-oriented initiatives.
  • Cross-functional management activities: Throughout a project, there are multi-functional areas of the business that are required to collaborate to accomplish the end goal and gather the expertise from each functional area.   
  • Traditional management functions: Traditional management functions may include activities related to the planning, organization, directions, control, and motivation of the stakeholders and processes involved in the project management process. 
  • Change management: This involves a process of continuous improvement and education from projects execution to ensure operations are seamless across all departments.  
  • Client experience projectsWhere the back-end development, front-end development and CX meet to provide process for implementing product improvement of the course of a fiscal quarter or year.

Projects serve as an essential catalyst to many functional areas of every  business or when ad-hoc events occur in an organization due to continuous improvement practices. How an organization handles project management can catalyze organizational initiatives or have a significant negative impact on the overall execution structure of the organization. Standardize a project process to allow for your organization to effectively implement concepts, tasks, and/or strategies in a cross-functional environment.