The Overall Process of the Project Description Process

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The overall process of the project description process can be summed up by:

Phase 0: Concept - Project Definition; Project Team Setup

Phase 1: Initiation - Project Definition and Requirements; Planning, Scope and Tradeoffs; Scheduling, Costs and Estimating; Team and Communication
Phase 2: Execution - Ongoing Planning; Specifications; Tracking and Control; Reviews; Testing
Phase 3: Approval - Test Planning and Test Execution; Completion Criteria & Checklists
Phase 4: Delivery - Project Completion; Close-out Activities Project
A project is 'a means of doing something' or 'a scheme of work'. A project aims to reach a specific goal, from a defined starting point, within a given time frame, with specified inputs (e.g. money, manpower). It is a means by which the ideas and objectives of policy are converted into practical reality. A project can stand alone or be related to a number of other projects or activities in a group of tasks/sub-tasks. A project usually is made up of a number of tasks which are integrated with each other and do not stand alone. In turn, a task may comprise a number of separate activities. Types of Project

A project may involve 'hard' activities - construction, building works or large-scale equipment procurement often referred to as a capital project. Capital projects usually involve a substantial investment at the project start and may have a life-span of many years (e.g. 20 years or more). Or it may involve 'soft' activities - management, institutional development, training, etc. These projects often may involve continuing expenditure over a period of years, but do not give rise to a capital asset. Or may involve a combination of both types. All hard projects have associated operation and maintenance costs. A project may charge for its product or service, thereby generating revenue income. Such a project is often described as 'revenue earning' or 'income generating'. A project is economically viable when over time revenues exceed the costs of operation, maintenance and paying back any initial investment. Project Scale and Complexity

Projects can vary enormously in scale and complexity both technically and in terms of funding. 'Environment' is an imprecise term that is often loosely used. All hard projects and most soft projects have some environmental implications or impacts. These impacts may be broadly positive or negative, and a decision has to be reached where the acceptable balance lies. It is usually helpful to distinguish between:

·projects having environmental objectives; and
·other projects where the objectives are not environmental but which have environmental impacts, or secondary environmental benefits. From an environmental perspective four broad types of project can be identified: 1. where an economic activity has a substantial environmental component or impact; 2. where the objective is to improve the environment, or environmental conditions, and/or human health. These may sometimes be referred to as 'green' projects; 3. mixtures of the above, where a proposed activity brings economic benefits and at the same time helps to improve the environment. These are often called 'win-win' projects; 4. research projects - which may eventually result in commercial applications having environmental consequences. Sources of Project Ideas

Project ideas can be drawn from a number of different sources. You may already have a clear idea for a project. Most people start with a problem or with something that they want to do. A project is a way of implementing a policy or of solving a problem. The following are possible sources of project ideas:

·from an analysis of environmental problems and opportunities, a strategy or strategic policy framework has been developed - project ideas may then be invited or generated from a number of agencies, for example, central, regional or municipal government, or non governmental organizations; ·there may be a need to...
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