2. PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS
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1. Projects have a purpose
Projects have clearly-defined goal and set out aims
to produce clearly-defined results. Their purpose is to
solve a "problem”, and this involves analyzing needs
beforehand. Suggesting one or more solutions, a
project aims at lasting social change.
Goals and objectives are statements that describe
what the project will accomplish, or the business
value the project will achieve.
Because the goal is at a high-level, it may take more
than one project to achieve.
Generally, non-measurable: If you can measure the
achievement of your goal, it is probably at too low a
level and is probably more of an objective.05/15/15 2Mavole, J. 2014
The goal should reference the business benefit in
terms of cost, speed and / or quality.
Objectives are concrete statements describing what
the project is trying to achieve. The objectives should
be written at a lower level, so that they can be
evaluated at the conclusion of a project to see
whether it was achieved or not.
Goal statements are designed to be vague.
Objectives should not be vague.
A well-worded objective will be Specific,
Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Realistic and
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An example of an objective statement might be to "upgrade the
helpdesk telephone system by December 31 to achieve average client
wait times of no more than two minutes".
Note that the objective is much more concrete and specific than the
The objective is measurable in terms of the average
client wait times the new phone system is trying to
We must assume that the objective is achievable and
The objective is time-bound, and should be completed by
Objectives should refer to the deliverables of the project. In
this case, it refers to the upgrade of the telephone system.05/15/15 4Mavole, J. 2014
2. Projects are realistic
Their aims must be achievable, and this means
taking account both of requirements and of the
financial and human resources available.
Does what you would like to achieve possible using
the resources you have?
How prepared are you to account for every plan’s
cost, when to be realized and who to accomplish it?
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3. Projects are limited in time and space
They have a beginning and an end and are implemented in (a) specific place(s) and
“It’s a temporary group activity designed to produce a unique product, service or
A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end (usually time-
constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet
unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.
The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or
operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities
to produce products or services.
In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as
such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals
and objectives while honoring the preconceived constraints. The primary constraints
are scope, time, quality and budget
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4. Projects are complex
Projects call on various planning and implementation skills and
involve various partners and players.
Project complexity- 'consisting of many varied interrelated parts' and
can be operationalized in terms of differentiation and interdependency.
This applies to any project dimension relevant to the project
management process, such as organization, technology, environment,
information, decision making and systems.
It is worthwhile emphasizing that complexity is a distinctly different
concept to two other project characteristics--size and uncertainty
There are two types of project complexity most commonly referred to
in project management;-
That is, organizational complexity and technological complexity.
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5. Projects are collective
Projects are the product of collective endeavours.
They involve teamwork and various partners and
cater for the needs of others.
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6. Projects are unique
Projects stem from new ideas. They provide a specific
response to a need (problem) in a specific context.
They are innovative.
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7. Projects are an adventure
Every project is different and ground-breaking; they
always involve some uncertainty and risk.
05/15/15 10Mavole, J. 2014
8. Projects can be assessed
Projects are planned and broken down into
measurable aims, which must be open to evaluation.
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9. Projects are made up of stages
Projects have distinct, identifiable stages (Project cycle).
Eight stage process through which practically every major project
goes through (These stages)
a. Identification: stage where one project-idea out of several
alternatives is chosen and defined.
b. Preparation: defined idea is carefully developed to the appraisal
c. Appraisal: every aspect of the project idea is subjected to systematic
and comprehensive evaluation, and a project plan is prepared.
d. Presentation: detailed plan is submitted for approval and financing to
the appropriate entities.
e. Implementation: with necessary approvals and financing in place, the
project plan is implemented.
f. Monitoring: at every stage the progress of the project is assessed
against the plan.
g. Evaluation: upon completion the project is reassessed in terms of its
efficiency and performance.
h. Termination – When the project comes to an end05/15/15 12Mavole, J. 2014