Chapter 4

A Traditional Project

Five Essential Parts of a Project

The Project Management Institute provides a 5-by-9 construct for thinking about projects—42 separate processes are each aligned with one of five process groups and one of nine knowledge areas. The Harvard Pocket Mentor outlines a simpler approach by proposing four phases for every project. Our experience is that every traditional project has five essential parts:

  • Tasks: the how
  • Objectives: the what and the why
  • Timeline: the when
  • Cost: the how much
  • Owners: the who

Communicating each element is necessary, which is why we have used these traditional elements as the structure of the one-page project manager (OPPM). (See Figure 4.1.)

Figure 4.1 Five Essential Elements of a Traditional Project

Copyright OPPMi 2012.


Let's look at these five elements in more detail:

1. Tasks: the how—Tasks are the center of a project and need to be completed to accomplish the objectives. They are about the nuts and bolts of a project, the specifics of how it needs to be done. The hierarchy and interdependencies of tasks are part of the work breakdown structure.
2. Objectives: the what and the why—The purpose of a project is its vision. Ken Blanchard, in his book The Heart of a Leader (Tulsa, OK: Eagle Publishing, 2002) writes, “Knowing where you are going is the first stop in getting there.” A project's objectives can be general or specific ...

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