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In this Insights interview, Bob McGannon, PMP, will share the secrets he's cultivated in years of international project management for companies such as IBM and Boeing. Discover key skills for project managers, the ins and outs of certification options, and best ways to build and manage successful projects.
A project, by definition, has a distinct beginning, and an end. You create a product that does not exist. And when that product is created, you stop the project. It is a contained Piece of work. It's not ongoing. So let's take a real big, fun, wild example, okay? you create a new commercial airplane.
That is a massive project. But it starts with the idea of are we going to create a big commercial airplane? Are we going to create a fuel efficient airplane? Are we going to create a military aircraft? Wh, wh, whatever it is. And it ultimately ends up in the first product that you're going to You know, manufacture and sell, at some point in time, you go from that and just make 27 or 87 or 507 of them in a manufacturing line there after. The project is to create that product and the capability to build it, then the project ends.
Business as usual, this is a pretty big business as usual. But business as usual is then the ongoing manufacture of the product that you create. I might in a different example. I might create a set of tools, and scripts, and questions, and responses that people on a help desk ultimately have to manage. To support a product for the marketplace. That's a project, but once I'm done with that and the help desk is merrily getting requests, getting questions, answering questions, satisfying customers needs and going through that 800, 700, 22,000 times a day, whatever the case may be, that's ongoing business as usual.
So that's the primary difference. But I want to say, there's even nuances in that. Let's take a third example. Let's take, I am a construction company and I'm building out a whole new subdivision, so a new small neighborhood. I may have semi-custom homes. Alright I may be using five or six different designs, or eight or ten, whatever the case may be, to build these houses. I maybe be building the third instance of design six for this house now you may say well wait a minute this ain't the unique product we've built this house atleast three other times before or six other times before whatever the case may be.
And I say yeah I say, but this is on a different plot of land. The utility placement, relative to where the house sits, is probably different. The person that buys the house may have different ways they want to appoint it, they may have different cabinetry, they may want an additional bathroom. But whatever the case may be It's a unique product, even though it uses the same base design. It's a unique product, that's a project. You haven't asked this but the concept of a program is managing a bunch of projects in a coordinated way so that the building of this subdivision.
Would be a program. And that I'm probably going to want to hire the plumbers to work on multiple houses. I'm going to want to buy the timber not to build one house at a time but I'm going to get a volume discount by building a, by buying a lot of timber for all of the houses, et cetera. So that's the difference. Something is on an ongoing, repeatable basis. Where the project is something with a beginning and an end and the product in the end is unique.
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