Project Management Isn’t Process Execution

Project Management is the discipline of organizing resources (people, money, time, environmental, etc.) to achieve something that has not been achieved before. 

Many people feel that they are managing a project when they are getting work done. As we know: a process is an activity with an input, transformation, and output. It is often true that our work is more of a process than a project. 

You know that you are working on a project if: 

  1. You have set out to do something that has never been done before. There is no template for achieving the result that you are looking for. 
  2. The resources that you will be using to complete the project aren’t ‘expecting’ ahead of time to be used for this. People and money are specially set aside for this new work.
  3. If you had to do this work all over again, you would start with a clean page, and the project plan would look completely different. You would use a different plan and approach because the circumstances to deliver the result would be different.

Managing a project is about bringing a change into the world. It is a change from something that wasn’t there before to something new and unique. Furthermore, delivering a project specifically is about providing a change that hasn’t been achieved previously. Producing one more car isn’t a project, but designing a new car is. 

Managing a project requires you to manage resources in a new way to bring something new into the world. Executing a process requires you to manage resources in the same way as before to bring something similar to a previous result into the world.