Project management is undertaken by many different types of organisations around the world. There are also numerous types of projects undertaken that range from an entrepreneur launching an application/product/service, to global companies investing in a new asset such as a mine or oil refinery.

No matter the organisation or type of project, the characteristics of a project are usually always the same. The way a project is undertaken though can vary drastically to award winning within an industry, to abysmal failures, that result in cost and schedule over runs or an end product that is of poor quality.

So what is a project then? The Project Management Institute (PMI) states ‘a project is a temporary endeavour to create a unique product, service or result. The end of the project is reached when the projects objectives have been achieved, or when the project is terminated, because is objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists’.

It is important to note that temporary doesn’t mean a short duration of time, a project can last for years! An example of a recent project taking many years is the new World Trade Centre in New York. However, as an entrepreneur or small business you may be keen to get your product or service to market much more quickly than that.

Some examples of projects taken by entrepreneurs or small business are:

  • Developing and launching of an app or software
  • Opening a café/bar/restaurant
  • Opening a store or boutique whether its online or has a physical presence
  • A child care centre
  • Implementing new software or tools within a business to maximise productivity
  • Taking a business idea and turning in to reality

There are five key processes in a project (and the brackets are what PMI calls the processes), these are:

  1. Starting (Initiating)
  2. Organising (Planning)
  3. Doing (Executing)
  4. Managing (Monitoring and controlling)
  5. Finishing (Closing)

Then the following six aspects of a project fit in to the five key processes above. These are:

  1. Scope of work (what you need to do within your project to get your product or service to market)
  2. Quality of your product or service
  3. How long your project will take
  4. How much your project will cost
  5. Who will be involved in your project
  6. Managing any risks to your project so you can ideally avoid them

It’s also important to note that a project can be quite dynamic and subject to change as you elaborate on your product or service. The typical drivers of a project are related to quality, cost and time. The drivers of your project may change too as you progress through your project and where cost was perhaps the primary driver, it could now be time as you wish to get your app/product/service to market as quickly as possible.

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