A Project is a temporary undertaking in order to create a project/service. The seven characteristics of a project are:-
1) Importance: A project should be important enough as seen through the eyes of the top management in a company to make it worthy enough to set up an organizational unit especially for this project. If anyone in the organization thinks or suspects that it is not really important, the project is doomed to fail. There are multiple and mild symptoms to recognize the lack of importance: If the top management doesn’t mention it at all, assigning the project to a lesser ranked employee, adding this project into the responsibilities of a person who is already overworking, not looking after the needs of the project like the resources or not allotting sufficient time for the project.
I have noticed this happen in the company I worked at, previously. This company is an advertising agency where there were several projects which catered to the needs of different health companies and prepared ads for them. I noticed that if they got any particular ad which was not yet approved by the top management or if it wasn’t a big enough to allocate it to new resources, they did not create a new project for it. Instead they had it assigned to someone in an already existing team to work on it and it wouldn’t be given much importance during its lifecycle.
2) Performance: A project is an activity with well-defined end results. It is generally divided into subtasks in order to achieve the project goals. The project requires effective time management and often require coordination and control over performance and costs. This project will have to be coordinated with the various other projects in the organization.
3) Life Cycle with a Finite Due Date: All projects have life cycles. From a slow beginning they progress to a buildup of size, then peak, begin a decline, and finally will have an ending date when it should be completed. Some projects end by being phased into the normal, ongoing operations of the parent organization.
4) Interdependencies: Projects interact with various other projects carried out simultaneously in the same organization. Hence they also might sometimes share resources due to which some sort of competition might be created between the two projects. But there might be standard rules followed by an organization in order to handle this. The PM must ensure all these interactions happen clearly and also maintain the appropriate interrelationships with all external groups.
I noticed these interdependencies in the advertising agency I worked at.