A project has a unique purpose. Every project should have a well-defined objective. For example, Anne Roberts, the Director of the Project Management Office in the opening case, might sponsor an information technology collaboration project to develop a list and initial analysis of potential information technology projects that might improve operations for the company. The unique purpose of this project would be to create a collaborative report with ideas from people throughout the company. The results would provide the basis for further discussions and projects. As in this example, projects result in a unique product, service, or result.
A project is temporary. A project has a definite beginning and a definite end. In the information technology collaboration project, Anne might form a team of people to work immediately on the project, and then expect a report and an executive presentation of the results in one month.
A project is developed using progressive elaboration. Projects are often defined broadly when they begin, and as time passes, the specific details of the project become clearer. Therefore, projects should be developed in increments.
A project team should develop initial plans and then update them with more detail based on new information. For example, suppose a few people submitted ideas for the information technology collaboration project, but they did not clearly address how the ideas would support the business strategy of improving operations. The project team might decide to prepare a questionnaire for people to fill in as they submit their ideas to improve the quality of the inputs.
A project requires resources, often from various areas. Resources include people, hardware, software, and other assets. Many projects cross departmental or other boundaries to achieve their unique purposes. For the information technology collaboration project, people from information technology, marketing, sales, distribution, and...