Things are not always what they seem.
—Phaedrus, Roman writer and fabulist
To put projects into perspective, you need a definition—a common starting point. All too often, people call any work they have to do a “project.” Projects actually have a very specific definition. If a set of tasks or work to be done does not meet the strict definition, then it cannot be called a project. To use the project management techniques presented in this book, you must first have a project.
Projects arise out of unmet needs. Those needs might be to find a solution to a critical business problem that has evaded any prior attempts at finding a solution. Or those needs might be to take advantage of an untapped business opportunity. In either case, a sponsor or customer prepares a business case to advocate approval to pursue the appropriate project. The formal definition of that effort follows.