The project is a temporary initiative aimed at the realization of a specific goal, in the form of a one-off and often unique and complex activity.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) gives the following definition of a project: a project is a unique process consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and end dates, undertaken to achieve a single goal, corresponding to specific requirements, including time constraints, costs, and resources.
A project is a temporary process undertaken to achieve a given goal, which has a defined scope, can be completed within a defined period, uses human effort and a limited amount of resources, and is characterized by a defined sequence of activities. The project has its beginning and end, i.e. it has a limited life, while the project product or service generally has a long life.
The project is identified with diverse activities such as investment, scientific research, design and construction, information research, consulting, etc. The scope may include some or all of these. In general, non-standard complex actions are performed under constraints in terms of time, cost, and quality requirements. In other words, the scope or set of activities has a unique character.
Following the logic of any management philosophy, project management in a necessary manner is aimed at optimal utilization of company resources under the available restrictive conditions. A characteristic feature of project management is its transience or limited duration.
The need for projects is determined by the following: in the process of business planning, the need to improve existing operations is determined, or the use of projects to implement change.
Until the eighties of the last century, the approach of improving existing operations (Operation Management) was mainly used to achieve a competitive advantage.
With the rapid development of technical innovations and communications, as well as new advanced planning techniques, the main emphasis is on project management for the realization of company business plans.
Project management can be defined as carrying out a set of heterogeneous activities with unique content to solve a complex non-standard problem, under imposed restrictions on time, costs, quality, and specific requirements for the organization of work.
An object of management is the project, which is goal-oriented to achieve the necessary change. The management structure of each project includes:
- The project manager;
- Customer/User — This is the individual or organization that will “consume” the project’s product.
- Executor organization — the organization whose specialists are most strongly involved in the project implementation activities;
- Project team – the group that performs the work on the project;
- Project management team – the project team members who participate in project management activities;
- Sponsor/investor – an individual or group that provides the financial resources for the implementation of the project;
- Other stakeholders or groups that are not directly related to the use of the product of the project, but because of their position in the client organization or the contractor organization, can positively or negatively affect the implementation of the project.
The project manager, together with the project team, must identify all external/internal interests potentially involved, define clearly and fully the needs, requirements, and expectations of their stakeholders and, to the greatest extent possible, “manage” their influence so that ensure successful completion of the project and achievement of its objective.
Different stakeholders have different degrees of influence, assume different responsibilities during different phases of the project life cycle, and all of these can change over time.