Now that we’ve been acquainted with what a project is (hopefully), lets look at its relationship with Operations. 1st of all, lets answer the question that many (those who are new to project management) may have. Is there a difference between Projects and Operations? YES. There is a big difference between them.
Before trying to understand the difference; lets understand what is ‘Operations’ & recap what is ‘Project’.
- <u>Operations</u>: “An organizational function performing the Ongoing execution of activities that provide a Repetitive service and/or produce the same product.”
- <u>Project</u>: “A Temporary endeavour undertaken to create a Unique result, service or product.”
As you would notice, the definition of Operations is in stark difference with the definition of Project (as we discussed in Mathew’s post titled “PM BASICS: WHAT IS A PROJECT?“). Projects & Operations mainly differ in its characteristics because Operations are Ongoing & Repetitive whereas Projects are Temporary & Unique.
As per PMBoK; “The objectives of Projects & Operations are fundamentally different. The purpose of a Project is to attain its objective and then terminate. Conversely, the objective of an ongoing Operation is to sustain the business. Projects are different because the it concludes when its specific objectives have been attained, whereas Operations adopt a new set of objectives and the work continues.”
Having highlighted the difference, its very important to highlight the most important similarity between Operations & Projects. Both of them are (should be) undertaken keeping the best interest of the organization (that it falls under) in mind. To simplify the relationship between Organization-Operations-Projects, imagine them as a big family where:
* Organization is the Parent
* Operations is the Responsible Elder Brother
* Project is the Flamboyant Younger Brother
As long as all 3 of them live & work together in harmony, the family is bound to be successful in all its endeavours.
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