Topic 1.1: What is a project (and why does it matter)?
For a project to successfully finish, it needs to produce an output.
That output can be a product, service or result.
However, as we will see, production of this tangible output is not necessarily the end of your project, nor even the purpose of the project.
How people use and ultimately benefit from this output is usually far more important than the project itself.
And because no two projects ever start and finish at exactly the same time, in the same place, with the same people and under the same conditions, every project is fundamentally unique.
The differences are sometimes small, but often significant.
Even repeating a simple project you have completed before will throw up a different result, (either in terms of process or outcomes), because – if nothing else – presumably you have learnt from experience and are doing something differently.
And whereas it is true that many of the lessons of general management do apply to projects; our project-defined start and end date means that the effort we apply to day-to-day operations – or business as usual, as it is sometimes called – is not always a perfect fit for projects.
In fact, some general management knowledge does not transfer well and may actually harm our projects.
So what are some of the other differences between projects and business as usual?
We will look at that in the next topic.