Help: Would you consider 'operation' of a project part of the lifecyle or not?

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PM rookie
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Joined: Fri 19 Aug 2022 12:25 pm

Hi All,

Current PM student needing guidance here, and would appreciate your opinions/experience/knowledge on the following question and scenario:

Do you consider the 'operation' of a project to be occurring within the project's lifecycle or does it exist as a separate project?

SCENARIO: Say there is a PPP roadworks project (a toll way tunnel) that a city council gives to a project management organisation. The agreement is that the PM org builds, owns, operates, and then terminates the project, after owning and operating it after 45 years, and delivers it back to the council/ transfers ownership.

Would you argue that the operation of the tunnel is a separate project or would you consider it as included in the projects lifecycle seeing as it was in the terms/ scope of the project agreement?

The reason I ask is that I would argue that it was, seeing as the PPP agreement included it within scope. But I have been told by my university lecturer that this is incorrect, and that operation of a project falls outside of implementation/execution and exists as a separate project. Now, I don't mind being wrong, which is why I am here for some more discussion about this. However, in cases where something doesn't make sense to me, as this does not, I look for evidence to say which way it is, not just one person telling me I am wrong. Considering I have to act on and implement the theory I am fed at uni one day, I'd like to understand fully what I am being fed.

The only real evidence provided to me by the lecturer is that the PMBOK guide states projects are 'temporary' in nature. The lecturer sees 45 years as not temporary it would seem, but in the grand scheme of things, 45 years is temporary to me, and there is a definite end to the project when it is to be terminated/ handed over as per the PPP agreement. So I have looked for more evidence to confirm I am wrong. But I cant find anything. (Perhaps I am missing something that you can mention?) On the contrary, in event management theory, operation of an event project is often considered to occur within the lifecycle of the project (as it is often included in the scope of the project by the PM team & client). It appears to be considered a part of the phase execution, and also within the 'control and monitoring' element of a project. So my original question and confusion remains, and now I also wonder... why would a infrastructure project be any different from an event project, when the real issue is about what is included within a project's lifecycle according to Project Management theory and practice. I would appreciate your insight on this. Thank you.
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