According to the project management institute, “a project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”

The fundamental motive of project is to satisfy customer’s needs.

The following are the characteristics of a project:

  1. It has a specific objective- in a project workers work for a purpose which is usually lacking in other organisational operations. E.g.: product launch, building construction.
  2. It is for a certain period- a project has a beginning and an end, it goes hand-in-hand with the duties and responsibilities. An individual might move from one project to another, instead of being confined to a specific job e.g.: after launching a specific product, an event planner starts working on organising a business party.
  3. It involves individuals from different departments, project s are different from other organisational work. It requires contribution from different departments and various specialists. Variety of professionals and specialists work together under the guidance of a project manager to achieve a specific objective. E.g.: engineers, market analysts, financial analysts, quality control specialists, come together to plan the production of a new product.
  4. It is unique– every project is about something new i.e. never done before. It involves non-routine work and unique elements. E.g.: designing an electronic car. A project can also be as simple as launching a new food product, involving monotonous production process, but it has a unique element.
  5. It has specific requirements – time, cost and performance holds a project together. The primary function of a project, i.e. balance of cost, time and performance, is highlighted by these three aspects that will satisfy the customer. Projects are evaluated on the basis of these three aspects.


A project is not everyday work, i.e. it is not repetitive or monotonous. After the completion of every project a new product or service is produced. The following table shows the difference between a program and a project:


Program Project
·         It is group of projects undertaken to accomplish a long term goal. ·         It is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service.
·         It is for a longer period of time and on a larger scale. ·         It is a short term activity and is a part of a program.
·         The activities involved are continuous, inter-dependent and coordinates different projects. ·         The activities are non-routine and have a unique element.



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