What is a project?


Project and project management

Are you looking for the definition of a project or simply trying to learn how to start a project? Or perhaps considering a profession in project management but do not actually understand what it is?

Here are a few basic guidelines and a simple illustration as to how it actually works. So, read on.


In professional terms defined by the pmbok body of knowledge, it is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or a result. In layman’s terms simply, any type of work that has a beginning and an end that creates something of any nature. 

In reality, we do projects day to day in our lives and you might not even realize it. Say for instance, planning your vacation is a project in itself as it requires you to do planning. Or let’s just say you plan to create a patio deck in your backyard or new shelves for your closet. All this endeavor requires you to do a lot of planning and a whole lot more. It is important to understand what are the process involved in project management. 

There are 5 basic process groups in project management. They are:

1. Initiating

2. Planning

3. Executing

4. Monitoring and Controlling

5. Closing

Now to give you an example how this process groups work, I will adopt a very simple home project. Let’s get back to what I have mentioned earlier which is for instance creating new shelves for your closet. The 5 process groups apply in a way where you:

Step 1. Initiate the project – In this process you would think about what you would like to do in creating your new shelves, perhaps write them down into detail.  

Step 2. Planning the project -You would create a plan and a budget on how much you are willing to spend for your new shelves. You will also create a schedule when you would like to start and finish the project. 

Step 3. Executing the project- Putting it into action or executing your plan by buying the shelves in home depot and selecting the type or color for your shelving and then actually doing the work. 

Step 4. Monitoring and Controlling the project work – in this process group you would be monitoring your work and check how you are doing. You might need to make some adjustments or changes as necessary. Perhaps you need more shelves or less shelves and this is the time where you make those changes. 

Step 5. Closing the project - Lastly the 5th step, this is where you evaluate your work and asses the project in itself. At this point you have completed the project and I hope you are happy with the outcome. This is the step also where you will try to remember some lessons learned from your shelving project so next time around you would know what not to do. 

There are many ways and examples to illustrate a project. I hope I have given you a basic understanding on what a project is and how the project management process works. In a professional standpoint these 5 processes are also divided into 42 knowledge areas which I will discuss in a separate topic. 

Remember, for a successful project to be completed, it is essential to follow these processes. They are not only tested to be fully effective but also it guarantees the success of your endeavor. 

Whether or not you are a professional looking into project management, and would like to learn more please visit my website for other project management tips. 

By profession, I am a certified project manager with pmp credentials. I have been in the IT industry for the past 12+ years and have run multiple projects for small and big companies alike. I am passionate about sharing my experiences as a project manager and also eager to show you how I have attained my certification. You can find additional tips in passing the pmp exams on my website. https://asksigrid.com/