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Project Management, the Characteristics of a Project

Since Project management transcends all industries, either big or small projects. It is then very good to know the characteristic to determine if it is a project. So as a project manager, it is good to understand these elements of project management. Some do undermine these characteristics of a project because they feel it is not necessary, because they take it to be very simple and straight forward but believe me it could be difficult sometimes to determine.

So as a project manager for you to know if a project is a project it must have the following elements:


  1. Definite Time and Date

It is a temporary undertaking within a fixed period of time, whether a week, month or years. A project manager has to complete the project within the specified amount of time. A project is an ad hoc organization of staff, material, equipment and facilities that is put together to accomplish a specific goal in a particular period of time. This goal is within a specific time-frame. Once the goal is achieved, the organization created for it is disbanded or sometimes it is reconstituted to begin work on a new goal (project). So there should always be a definite start and end time to a project, and it should stop once the required products or goals are created.


Project must have a Goal to Achieve or an Outcome.  

During the process, projects pass through several distinct phases, which form and are called the project life cycle. The tasks, people, organizations, and other resources will change as the project moves from one phase to the next. The organizational structure and the resource expenditures build with each succeeding phase; peak; and then decline as the project nears completion. In other words, something is completed or achieved by the end of the project life cycle or in the process of meeting the target

Every Project must have a benefit for it

It must provide benefit or value to the recipient. In other words, what will the recipient gain from the completed project? The essence of any project is for the recipient or organization to gain satisfaction.



As humans with our differences, and inability to control every situation that could result to uncertainty, as you are not very sure how this is going to work out or certain that will unfold that is beyond our control. Because in the process of executing the project you may run into unexpected risk/disappointment that may alter your plan, budget and time of completion.


Resources must be Allocated

A project requires an allocation of resources that need to be skillfully used. These resources will vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. The resources could be time, finances, materials and skills.


Project Purpose must be defined

There must be a defined purpose and objective and end result for the project.. This is usually specified in terms of cost, schedule, time  and performance evaluation.


Projects cut across organizational lines.

Projects always cut across the regular departments and units of an organization. They do this because the project needs to draw from the skills and the talents of multiple professions and departments within the organization and sometimes outside the organization. It will involve the expertise of other firms or organization to complete the project because no one knows it all. So a project could involves people from different business departments and seniority that work together for the duration of the project.


Project is Temporary

It is temporary in nature because it is not repetitive nor permanent as business, it has its own peculiar nature that differentiate it from others it must be unique.


And all projects will, in one way or another, allocate and use resources to achieve their goals or outcomes. In addition, project management follows a distinct linear process or journey, which is known as the project management life cycle. The life cycle has four phases. The life cycle begins with initiation, which is the starting point of any project. It is usually the shortest phase but the most important, because it sets up the foundation of the project. It is in this phase that you flesh out the project objectives, success criteria, and high-level plan. Is also in this phase that you identify risks, stakeholders, and your team.