What is a Project?

What is a Project?

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. It can also be called as a task or set of tasks undertaken to build a product or make a difference. The objective of a project is usually significant. For instance, a job like meeting a person cannot be termed as a project. It has a lifecycle, consisting of a definite start and end and is considered a closed dynamic system. Time, resources, and required outcomes are some of the factors that bound a project.

Projects are based on and driven according to a target or objective. The project is managed and monitored by the project manager and is terminated when the goal is achieved, cannot be achieved, and when there is no need of achieving the target. The target and impact of projects can be tangible or nontangible. For example, a project undertaken to construct a building is tangible and to enhance the skills of a team is nontangible. The outcome of a project could be temporary or permanent.

Features of a Project

  • It has a definite start, end, approach, and schedule.

  • It makes use of resources allocated for the work.

  • It has specific objectives.

  • It usually involves a team of people and a manager. Hierarchy and number could be different based on the level and duration of the project.

  • The resources (which are also constraints) used in a project are time, money, number of people, equipment or skill set, and facilities.

5 Elements of a Successful Project

Though the elements of different projects could be repetitive, the projects themselves are unique. For example, same materials and teams could be used to construct a building but the design, location, purpose, etc. would be different for each building. Due to their unique nature, projects have many uncertainties and possibilities associated with them. They could lead to a positive, negative, or neutral result. A project is initially defined with a single idea and a rough plan, and then as it progresses, the concept is reexamined and explained with more clarity, answering the underlying assumptions and queries about the project too.

It sounds easy, but in reality, it is not. The unpredictability of a project can get it derailed very easily. Every day new problems arise, which put a project’s progress and e success at risk. To overcome these challenges, projects need certain key elements. With the following factors checked, a project has a greater chance of success.

  1. A Committed Project Sponsor:

    He is a high-level person of the organization who has the ownership and rights of the project. He is affected by the outcome of the project to a great extent and puts up his best effort to make it a success.

    A project sponsor has four fundamental responsibilities:

    • He is the champion of the project. He makes sure that the team isn’t working under too much pressure and cheers them up publicly and privately.

    • He is in charge of supporting the project manager and guiding him whenever anything goes wrong during the project.

    • He aligns the resources for the project, either by himself or contacting other high-level professionals of the organization.

    • He assists in decision making. When the whole team cannot reach a decision, the project sponsor can resolve the issue.

  2. Clear Goals and Scope:

    The project must have a clear and achievable goal and scope before it is started. The goals are the ultimate objectives of the project, and the scope defines the parameters of the project. However, increasing a project’s scope increases the project’s need for resources like time and money.

  3. Project Manager and Project Team Members:

    A project manager is responsible for the project output and quality. He sets an objective and supervises its successful completion. The project team works to accomplish the set aim of the project manager.

  4. Engaged Stakeholders:

    Stakeholders are the people who have an interest in your project, or are likely to get affected by its outcome.

  5. Incorporating Project Management Best Practices and Frameworks:

    one of the key elements in completing a project successfully. Incorporating project management best practices suggested in the PMBOK® Guide, or ensuring a project adheres to the way of widely-recognized frameworks/methodologies such as PRINCE2 or Six Sigma can help the project stay on its course for successful completion.


A project is an integration of a creative and innovative idea, a person to incorporate it, a manager to monitor, a dedicated team, a planned and organized approach, and a balance between time, resources, and customer expectations.


Know more about project management best practices through Invensis Learning’s Project Management certification training on PMP, CAPM, PRINCE2, Project Management Fundamentals, P3O, and MSP. We are a trusted training partner for Fortune 500 companies and Government institutions globally. For on-site group training, please e-mail us at corporate@invensislearning.com.

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