What is a Project in Project Management? Definition, Features, Types & Examples

Organisations initiate projects to fulfill strategic demands and attain adequate profit margins within a limited period. Each project is planned under a budget while focusing on the target factors. Projects are also conceived to prevent recurring issues like declining revenue, upcoming profit opportunities or consumer dissatisfaction. 

Project management includes creating strategies to define the business goals and sharpen internal operations to generate prominent outcomes. You can understand what is a project in project management by looking for tutorial campaigns on informative sites. 

What Does a Project Mean?

Every project starts from scratch with a distinctive mission of fulfilling specific requirements. A defined project involves several varieties of non-human and human resources working together. 

Characteristics of a project

Projects are made of well-defined activities that can create a unique outcome and serve the target factors. Every project has a few fundamental characteristics, as stated below:

  • Projects are time bound with a fixed starting and ending date. 
  • Every project has a life cycle with a dedicated beginning, followed by a progression towards attaining the goals. 
  • Each project is unique and can be stated as a single entity. 
  • Managing a project requires collaboration within various departments.

What are the 3M’s of a project?

There are numerous ways to manage a project where you must embrace rapid actions using incremental and iterative operations. The stages of a project are always centred around methodology, mindset and metrics. To generate deeper insights into what is project management, you must acknowledge the 3M’s of a project. 

The 3M’s of project management includes ‘measure’, ‘manage to measure’, and ‘make it easy’.  

  • Measure: The steps in addressing a project must be measured to meet the requirements. Every project management phase must be calculated using a crafted method that can measure the gradual progress towards your target. 
  • Manage to Measure: Efficient influence of the management teams can guide a project towards its best outcomes. It involves critical thinking, requiring you to visualise the dimensions of a project and solve the complexities. A project can generate higher success rates under accurate initiatives and suitable collaborations. 
  • Make it Easy: Using metric sets can simplify the project execution, make it comprehensive, and reduce assessment time. You can use metrics to evaluate productivity, customer feedback, schedule variance, investment returns, employee performance, and so on. 

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Life Cycle of a Project

Projects can be mapped by a life cycle portraying a step-by-step progression structure of every management operation. You can attain higher chances of profitable outcomes by evaluating project life cycles. It enables you to understand what is project scope and how to implement project modifications. 

Studying a project’s life cycle is also helpful in managing various operative changes. Life cycles provide an organised plan to innovate, conduct, and complete a project. It consists of 5 phases, namely:

  • Initiation: This marks the beginning of a project. It assures determination in achieving the goals, resources and scope. 
  • Planning: The planning phase creates time frames, analyses budgets, distributes tasks, and gathers resources. It also depicts milestones, forecasts risks and generates operative principles. 
  • Execution: It involves the implementation of the planned changes. This phase evaluates the progress, maintains desirable standards, reduces risk factors, and manages the defined budget. 
  • Monitoring and Controlling: Projects are monitored by maintaining protocols and guided by data. This phase entails analysing the processes to accomplish your project’s goals. 
  • Closing: This is the last stage of project management’s life cycle. It presents the ultimate product or service for the final evaluation. The closing stage wraps up the project activities and recognises your efforts. 

Project Types

The accurate approach in project management is denoted by the project type based on its service, market, and several other features. 

Project types can be categorised as per the distinction parameters. The major categories of project types are listed below. 

Based on the Funding Source

  • Industrial Funding: These projects are funded by industrial sponsors who play an intrinsic role in the finance management market. 
  • Public Financing: Regional projects, municipal models, public welfare and other administrative projects are executed by public sponsorship. 
  • Contractual Transactions: The projects sponsored by contractors and operating business units come under this type. 
  • Investors and Sponsors: The ROI or return on investment projects are financed by investors who aim for future profits through capital investment. 

Based on Project Content 

  • Communication: These projects specialise in building communication between communities, demographic sections, professions, etc. and enhance social relations. 
  • Management: It includes projects on task assignment, stakeholder protocols, maintenance, etc. 
  • Construction: These are majorly civil and architectural projects. 
  • IT: The IT projects include database management, web development, network configuration, software development, etc. 
  • Business: Commercial and marketing models are the prevalent business projects. 
  • Production: It includes manufacturing, delivery services and numerous other projects. 

Based on the Implementation Time 

  • Normal Projects: These projects have adequate implementation time. 
  • Crash Projects: Refers to projects with additional capital investment. 
  • Disaster Projects: These projects have high capital costs and are most likely to fail. 

Types of Project Management Methodologies

  • Agile
  • Kanban
  • Scrum
  • Waterfall
  • Hybrid
  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
  • Critical Path Method (CPM)
  • Six Sigma
  • Lean Project Management
  • Event Chain Methodology (ECM)
  • DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development)
  • FDD (Feature Driven Development)
  • Adaptive Software Development
  • Crystal
  • XP (Extreme Programming)
  • PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments)
  • RUP (Rational Unified Process)

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Phases of Project Management

There are different phases in project management based on the processes and operations. You can check out the upGrad certificate programme on Job-linked Advanced General Management from IMT Ghaziabad if you are interested in learning more about management methods and wish to explore the domain. 

The basic five phases in project management operations are:

  • Project Initiation Phase
  • Project Planning Phase
  • Project Execution Phase 
  • Monitoring and Controlling Phase 
  • Closing Phase 

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Difference Between Projects & Operations

Although projects and operations are included in a product life cycle, they have different functionalities. The basic distinctions are:

Category Projects  Operations 
Key Factors  Temporary with unique endeavours.  Execution activities, usually ongoing and repetitive. 
Duration  Have a specified time frame. It ceases to exist after the final product is achieved.  It is a permanent procedure that sustains after production for further utilities. 
Budget Fixed budget  No defined budget 
Risk Involves the risk of failure. Lower risk rates 
Management  Managing projects is known as project management  Managing operations is noted as business process management. 

Importance of Project Management

Project management builds communication between the team and the clients, leading to successful execution. The vital importance of project management is listed below:

  • Project management ensures the business opportunity value of delivery and the strategic alignment of your business goals. 
  • It implements progression through directed leadership and maps the processes within a project. 
  • Managing a project assigns well-defined focus and objectives for the team. 
  • It establishes realistic expectations with achievable deadlines and budgets.
  • Project management is important in quality control as it maintains a consistent record of the delivered products. 
  • Using project management software can be instrumental in better management if you choose the right programme. 

Implementing a Project

Working on a project and executing it involves several steps and strategies. You need to plan the protocols before initiating and managing the ongoing activities to implement a project successfully.  

Planning a project

Before planning a project, you must understand what is project planning and how to improve your planning strategies. There are certain parameters and aspects to consider while working on project models. 

The critical factors that you should follow while planning are:

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the created business case. 
  • Communicate with the stakeholders for assistance and approval of the case.
  • Establish a comprehensive definition of the project scope.
  • Set distinctive project objectives and goals. 
  • Analyse and determine the project deliverables. 
  • Create the milestones and schedules of the project. 
  • Monitor the task assignments, plan the resources and evaluate your team’s strengths. 
  • Calculate the risk assessment.

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Factors that make a project successful

Profitable projects usually pilot a prototype before real-time investments. You can gain further knowledge on what is pilot project by joining certified courses on project management. 

Satisfactory results in the delivery of a project are equally important to its completion. The predominant factors that indicate a successful project are as follows:

  • Time of Delivery: Prosperous projects are generally completed on schedule or before the anticipated time, reflecting dedicated efforts and teamwork. 
  • Budget Management: Attaining the project goals and scope within the financial limitations implies a project’s success. It also denotes an obstacle-free budgeting journey. 
  • Achieving the Objectives: A project gains purpose when its initial objectives are accomplished and intended goals are concluded. 
  • Customer Feedback: Creating reliable contacts, receiving positive client feedback, and ensuring consumer satisfaction marks the success of a project. 
  • Profit Margins: Successful projects have a profitable aftermath and pay back the invested revenue.

Common Project Boundaries

Project boundaries can be defined by the critical limitations you must consider while managing a project. The common boundaries of a project include: 

  • Location: The demographics of a project’s location and its geographical reach can be a primary statement in project boundaries. 
  • Equipment: The project boundaries determine the limitations in equipment and notify the members of the accessibility of specific tools. 
  • Departments: Dissimilar distribution of tasks and profit benefits across the different departments of an organisation is another crucial project boundary. Project professionals tend to prioritise the familiar teams and sections. 
  • Expertise: Project managers define the tasks within a project. An organisation lacking relevant professional support can be a project boundary. 
  • Timeline: Project boundaries can detect the frequency of work and maintain updates. It also refers to a limited period and models a boundary statement. 

Examples of Successful Projects

Some of the renowned projects that have successfully achieved their missions are:

  • American Airlines
  • Siemens Healthineers 
  • Amazon
  • Triumph Group

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What Next?

Projects are initiated to enhance the achievements of a business or an organisation. It builds an opportunity to improve profitability and productivity through vivid policies and operations. Project managing is a crucial profession and significant in business management. 

You can acquire further details on what does a project manager do and build a promising career in management by joining a relevant programme like upGrad’s PG Certificate in Product Management from DUKE. Amplify your career prospects in management with this course today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a project charter, and why is it important in project management?

A short, formal document that defines a project's purpose while providing written authority to the managers is known as a project charter. It presents a summarised glance at the entire project and is widely used as an effective marketing tool. A project charter helps you gain a detailed understanding of the target objectives while managing a project.

What is work breakdown structure (WBS) in project management?

WBS, or work breakdown structure, is an important tool in project management that allows a steady approach to completing major projects. Managing projects with large scaled movements can be quickly executed by dividing the operations into smaller sections using a WBS.

What are the key features of a project?

A project comprises numerous crucial characteristics to define every operation that assists in achieving a specified target. Key features of a project under management include project objectives, life-span and unique principles.

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