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WHAT IS A PROJECT - PROJECT MANAGEMENT CHAPTER 1

What is a project?

A project is a whole of activities outside the ordinary business, involving the realization of something new for a clear client within clear frameworks by a team of several different specialists.
Projects are by definition exciting: you are going to make something new . And it is not sure if that works. A project is fun by definition : you will work together with a group of colleagues, each with a different background. A project is by definition important : you and your project colleagues will be exempt from your daily work for a while. That costs a lot of money. A company does not just opt ​​for this.

Four different ways to tackle a problem

Addressing a task, task or problem can be done in several ways. The project approach is only one of them. There are other ways to reach your goal. Whether a project is the most appropriate approach is very dependent on the situation.

1- Do you have to realize something in a complex situation in a short period of time and you have no idea what you have to do or do? Often you choose an improvising approach.
2- Do you have to achieve the same result for a longer period of time and in a stable environment? Then you opt for a routine approach .
3- And if there is no time at all and the need is very high, you can still opt for an intuitive approach .
4- And finally there is the project approach .

1. Improvising
The number of visitors in the cultural center has been falling for years. It is completely unclear what it is. The board asks Piet Hein and Antoinette to do something: it is no longer possible. They get ten thousand euros and four months. Improvisation seems to be the most desirable approach here:

- the client himself does not know what to do,
- the approach is unclear,
- in advance it is unclear what the result is,
- you can say little about the requirements that the result must meet.
It is clear that an improvising approach is not suitable if many people are involved in the assignment.

2. Routine
As a graduation project, Hans developed a candle stand that lifts the candle up while it is burning. A lot of hassle but successful. Hans receives an honorable mention and the school asks him to make ten pieces to give away to relations. If two days later his father orders another hundred pieces and he gets an assignment for another hundred pieces from the local chic store, Hans decides to take a routine approach. He does not make them piece by piece. He mechanises production and looks for a handy first-year. It takes over part of the production.

A routine approach is logical if:


- the same result must be achieved repeatedly while the conditions remain the same,
- the price of drafting procedures and the purchase of machines outweighs the proceeds.

3. Intuitive
"Tom Puss, invent a ruse." In seemingly hopeless situations an intuitive approach can bring salvation. There is no time for consultation, there is no time for drafting a plan. In such situations you can opt for an approach in which you rely on your "lower abdomen". That is not the same as "but what to do" but it is probably less controllable. The result is unclear, you think of the approach as you do it and you will automatically see who and what you need. An intuitive approach places high demands on the experience and know-how of the person who uses this approach. And the fewer people involved, the better it works. You choose an intuitive approach if:

- there is no time for consultation
- there is no time for drawing up a plan
- the risks are great
- you consider yourself capable.

4. Project-based

A project is a project when it concerns a unique, predefined performance of a group of collaborating employees with a different background. A project is a project like:

- it is something unique,
- it is a group performance involving several disciplines,
- the result is described in advance,
- there is time and opportunity to make a plan,
- has been set in advance when it must be ready and what it may cost (in time, money and energy)
- it is something important.

And: contrary to routine tasks, a project may fail.


The assignment to ensure that the hospital continued to operate on January 1, 2000 was pre-eminently suited to a project-based approach. That there could be a problem with the chips and with that everything that was somewhat automated, was already known in the early nineties. Time enough to tackle the problem. The result could be described well in advance: everything simply had to continue running. Because the chips are involved in all business processes in all possible ways, more disciplines were needed to tackle the problem. It is clear that it was something unique and something important. The only uncertainty was the size of the problem and the budget involved.
Hanna's Millennium Project therefore had some improvising traits: the goal was very clear, but at the start they did not know what to do.


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