"In a truly minimalist definition, the Project Management Institute defines a project as „A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service“ (PMBOK Guide, 2000 Edition). Although a commonly agreed upon standard definition is not yet within reach, most authors define a project more narrowly than that. Kerzner (2001) for example, defines a project as any series of activities and tasks that:
In many definitions further defining features of projects are complexity, uniqueness and unfamiliarity, which effect a close association of projects with uncertainty and risk.
What is NOT a project?
With the rise of project driven business strategies in the last decade, the term “project” has proliferated far beyond the definitional boundaries specified above. While this development certainly does not hurt the project management profession and the associated authors, trainers and application developers riding high on the “project boom”, it is vital to prevent blurring of the object at hand in order to establish clear indicational guidelines for certain project management tools. Three of the most frequent misuses of the project-concept are relating to organizations, programs, and operational routines.
Andreas Knoth: What is a project? © East European Studies Online; 2010.