A project is an activity which achieves a specific objective(s) through a set of defining tasks and effective use of resources. Projects have a number of distinctive attributes:
The specific project objectives can be grouped under three general headings, quality (which we can define as fitness for purpose or specification level), costs i.e. the budget, and time (to completion). Each project will have some key objectives which tend to be more important than the others e.g. the quality of the digital images is paramount and the purchase of (relatively) expensive scanning hardware may be acceptable in order to achieve this aim. In any project, people are a fundamental key to success and provide the links which facilitate the achievement of the project objectives. This is shown below in Figure 1 as the Triangle of Objectives .
Figure 1: Triangle of Objectives
All objectives must be SMART:
Specific: expressed singularly
Measurable: ideally in quantitative terms
Acceptable: to stakeholders
Realistic: in terms of achievement
Time-bound: a timeframe is stated
Projects have a defined time frame or finite life span with a beginning and an end. Unlike the example of maintaining a service, such as an online catalogue which is an on-going and continuous activity, a digitisation project will have agreed start and end dates, which are frequently determined by the availability of project funding and/or the availability of project staff (or others) to carry out the work. Projects are often unique either because they have never before been attempted or because the mix of parameters is customised for the particular activity.
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