Definition of a Project
A project is a temporary endeavor (it has a start and end date), undertaken to create a unique product, service or result within defined constraints. A project concludes when its specific tangible and/or intangible objectives have been attained and its resources have been released to do other work.
The UMass Boston Information Technology Project Management Methodology defines a project as:
- A unique endeavor (not repeated)
- Temporary, with a distinct beginning and end
- Defined by specific deliverables
- Conducted by a temporary team that exists for the duration of its execution
- Having a project manager who is responsible for its success
- Defined by identifying its starting point, the goals/objectives sought, and the route between them
Operations by contrast are ongoing and repetitive. Operational activities may repeat daily, monthly, annually, or on an as-needed basis, e.g., financial review, standard upgrades, hiring for a new position. When operations require a major change in process, input/output, or purpose, they may become projects until the change is complete.