If you’re following the PM BASICS series at PM4K, by now you understand ‘What is a Project?‘. Hopefully by now you also know what is the difference between ‘Project vs Operations‘ and how it fits in the overall organization? With this post lets try to answer a very important question; WHY DO PROJECTS?
There seems to be a myth that the sole objective of a project (no matter how concealed it may be) is to ‘Make Money’. Lets be clear and clarify that THAT’S NOT TRUE. Money may be the by-product of a project, but should not be the sole objective of a project.
Organizations perform work to achieve a set of objectives. In this ever-evolving world, Projects have become an option of choice for going about achieving the set strategic objectives of the organization. The following are the list of strategic objectives that should be the fundamental objective(s) to initiate a project:
1. A Market Demand(e.g. A demand in a the market for fuel efficient cars may encourage car manufacturers to kick off a project to design a new fuel efficient car. Such a project could be considered as an example of a project initiated due to a ‘Market Demand‘.)
2. An Organizational Need(e.g. A change in business strategy may lead a bank to change its core banking system. This change of software/system could be considered as an example of a project initiated due to an ‘Organization Need‘.)
3. A Customer Request(e.g. A customer/company may request an IT firm to develop a customized software that fulfils their unique business needs. Such a project could be considered as an example of a project initiated due to a ‘Customer Request‘.)
4. A Technological Advancement(Advancement in the web technology made it possible for banks to offer Online Banking services to its customers. Banks initiating projects to develop their own Online Banking Site could be considered an example of a project initiated due to a ‘Technological Advancement‘.)
5. A Legal Requirement(e.g. A mandate by the government to archive bank customer records for a minimum of 8 years could lead financial institutions to start a ‘Document Archival System’ project. Such a project could be considered as an example of a project initiated due to a ‘Legal Requirement‘.)
6. A Social Cause(e.g. A campaign kicked off to ‘Spread AIDS Awareness’, could be considered as an example of a project initiated for a ‘Social Cause‘.)
7. An Environmental Need(e.g. A ‘Green City, Healthy City’ project to make the city greener & healthier, could be considered as an example of a project initiated due to an ‘Environmental Need‘.)
A project is not limited to any one of the above mentioned objectives. Its acceptable for a project to have all of the above as its objectives, however, its not fine for a project to have none of the above objectives as its objective.
In short; no matter who, no matter which, no matter where, no matter when; if a project is undertaken then it has to be due to one of the above mentioned strategic organization objectives and that is what should be described & justified in the Project Charter (Business Case). Whether or not the Project Charter (Business Case) is prepared correctly is a topic that will be discussed altogether in a different PM4K post.