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Defining project management

There is no one definition of a project. However most experts agree that a project is a unique thing with a start and a finish. Most experts also agree what a project is not - routine work, every day tasks and the normal day to day activities of a company or a person.

There are several theories:

Buchaanan and Body (1992), defined a project as:
A unique venture with a begining and an end; conducted by people to meet established goals, schedule and quantity.

Tuner (1993), described a project as:
An endeavour in which human (or machine), material and financial resources are organised in a novel way, to undertake a unique scope of work, of given specification, within constraints of cost and time, so as to deliver beneficial change defined by quantitative and qualitative objectives.

Wilson (2002) described a project as:
Any new work if it lasts for a limited time period; involves different group of workers, and has penalties for late completion. The project manager is responsible for first planning, then controlling the allocation of time, money, people and other resources.

The British Standard Institution defined project as:
A unique set of coordinated activities, with a definative start and finishing point, undertaken by and individual or organisation to meet specific objectives within defined, scheduled cost and performance parameters. (BS 6079-1,200:2)

Another way of looking at a project is:
  • An event or thing that is with a start and a finish and clear objectives covering time, cost and quality.

  • The most efficient way of introducing changes

  • Defining what has to be done in terms of time, cost and quality

  • Using a plan to do these, and working on this plan, ensuring that progress is maintained.

  • Using appropriate project management techniques to plan, monitor and maitain progress.

  • Employing persons skilled in project management including a project manager who is responsible for introducing change and its successful accomplishment.

Next week: Types of projects

Excerpts from The University of Sunderland BA (Honours) Business Management, courtesy Resource Development International (RDI) Jamaica.
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