Section A Project Characteristics and Phases1

Projects can be anything: a capital facility, an information system, a piece of research, a company merger, an organizational change, launching a product, or decommissioning a facility, and so on. They can range from capital intensive technological and infrastructure investments to labour‐intensive health care. All projects types need a description, a scope, and the associated specifications for the quality required, and they cannot be realized without a team of people to develop them. The fundamental characteristic of all projects is that they create and cause change. As such, they come up against resistance. Consequently, leadership is needed in the form of a project manager, and a project management process is required to control them. (See Section B.)

There is a hierarchy to projects determined by their size, complexity, and the inherent risks (see Figure I.A.1). At the lowest hierarchical level are the routines, tasks that are so common and so well developed in a function that methods of working have ironed out all the difficulties. Next in the hierarchy are those frequently occurring packages of work – small projects that are very similar and can be developed without too much specialized management and theoretically do not present any significant risks. There are lots of them in an organization and they can be performed without any real difficulty. These are called the runners.

Figure I.A.1

At the next level of the ...

Get Effective Project Management now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.