Quick question from a noob in need!

This forum is for members to share and gain knowledge of Project Management. Got a question about project management? Need help with a problem? Wish to offer tips and advice? Post here.
Post Reply
User avatar
olly133mhz
New Member
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue 21 Jan 2014 1:16 pm

Hello everyone! Nice to meet you.

I have a quick question. I have just been on an Agile course as part of my work, and I have now been tasked with arranging a new and improved workflow. What is the best way you have found to establish whether something is a project or not? We are looking for a set of criteria or methods in which we can make a good judgement. One risk we are particularly aware of, is that when it comes to prioritizing these projects, people who have individual targets set by the CEO, could run the risk of falling short of such targets, if they're projects aren't favorably prioritized. Do you have any suggestions on how this could work? Apologies in advance if this has already been asked, or if my wording isn't too clear!

O.
NickC
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri 09 Mar 2012 8:45 am

I looked at this a while back.

We may class work as a project and manage it accordingly if any of these are true:

The amount of capital required to deliver the project is above a certain threshold.
The amount of man-hours required to deliver the project is above a certain threshold.
Whether the project carries particular risks (high risk of failure, legislative etc).
The significance / amount of benefits that the project promises to deliver (£'s profit for us).
Whether any key customers / partners (including potentially new ones) are involved (reputation).
Whether it contributes significantly towards the companies strategy for growth, even if the project in itself may not be all that profitable.


There are probably more, but that's all I could think of for now.
User avatar
olly133mhz
New Member
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue 21 Jan 2014 1:16 pm

Thanks for that Nick! Your information is definately helpful.

I'm looking to try using the S.M.A.R.T. Criteria approach at the minute, to try and narrow the definition down to tangeable "definitions" if that makes sense. Is that something you, or anyone else, has experience in using, or would recommend?
NickC
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri 09 Mar 2012 8:45 am

There seems to be 2 separate questions here.

1 - How do you define what constitutes a project (criteria), and
2 - Once defined as a project what measurables should be set as targets (S.M.A.R.T)?


In my opinion (1) is an activity covered right at the start of the project and possibly throughout the planning stage as you begin to develop an initial understanding of what the project entails.

(2) is an ongoing activity throughout the project where the PM monitors performance and forecasts against the agreed targets.


Look here for info on S.M.A.R.T

http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html
User avatar
kwalford
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu 08 Dec 2011 1:34 pm

NickC wrote:There seems to be 2 separate questions here.

1 - How do you define what constitutes a project (criteria), and
2 - Once defined as a project what measurables should be set as targets (S.M.A.R.T)?


In my opinion (1) is an activity covered right at the start of the project and possibly throughout the planning stage as you begin to develop an initial understanding of what the project entails.

(2) is an ongoing activity throughout the project where the PM monitors performance and forecasts against the agreed targets.


Look here for info on S.M.A.R.T

http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html
I think Nick is bang on the mark with this comment. Having objective criteria for what constitutes a project could form part of the organizations governance policy for their portfolio of projects.
User avatar
dhaughey
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 460
Joined: Sat 19 Dec 2009 4:39 pm
Location: London

A while ago we looked at what a project is and came up with this bullet point definition:
  • A set of inter-related tasks.
  • A specific objective and scope.
  • Defined outcomes and end-points.
  • A definite start and finish.
  • Involves people and a number of different resources.
  • Are in some way unique.
  • Are concerned with change.
Something that separates project management from normal management is the need for and the emphasis on planning.
Post Reply