By Chris Pennington.
Projects – what is a project and why do we undertake them? We see some organisations are dominated by projects, yet others seldom formulate a project team. Projects will range in size, duration and scope; some are strictly regimented, others are loosely defined. But as a general rule, we see organisations embarked on a project with the aim of changing something in the status quo.
Every business will follow their own unique model that propels them through the day-to-day activities than others, but for the most part this allows them to operate in the current state. However in the real world, “current-state” is not stable, it is always in a state of flux. Change is inevitable and hence businesses must adapt and address the change. This gives rise to projects.
First Premise – A project is used to bring change to the status quo.
So what aspects of the “current state” do projects impact? There are many aspects which distinguish one business from another, but conceptually most can be said to work with the following basic goals/drivers, that is to provide services or products which a) maximise revenues/minimise costs (Money), b) deliver a positive experience for those involved (Experience), and c) seek to increase the frequency of transactions (Frequency).
In other words, we want to sell as often as possible, whilst at the same time keeping customers and employees happy and deliver the biggest possible profit.
With a business landscape that is forever changing, projects are spawned to directly or indirectly influence one of these three business goals or drivers. Furthermore, to simplify the objective of the project we can assume the influence on these drivers is binary: either increase or decrease a variable in the business.
Here are some concrete examples to aid the comprehension:
a) Increase access people have to data [Experience]
b) Decrease the number steps in a process [Frequency]
c) Increase data integrity [Experience]
d) Increase use of technology to give exposure to new markets [Money]
e) Decrease the raw material wastage by optimising orders [Money]
Hence we derive at the second premise:
Second Premise – A project’s objective can be defined as either increasing or decreasing a variable in the organisation.
Thus we conclude “Projects are undertaken to increase or decrease variables in a business which will challenge the status quo and positively impact the organisational drivers of success”.