Project identification is today’s topic – organizations (especially in IT departments) struggle with the subjectivity around what constitutes “project work”. One person’s “simple service request” is another person’s stealth project.
From a purist perspective, one could apply PMI’s (or any of your favorite PM association’s) definition and focus on such criteria as a start & end date, uniqueness, consumption of resources and delivery of value. However, based on that high-level definition, many minute activities could be considered projects and we obviously don’t want to go down that road…
Use of multiple criteria is a must – we’ve all worked in organizations where they purely identified projects based on cost or effort – it’s amazing how many non-project activities emerge that are JUST below the threshold (a slight segue – this is similar to the 99 cent phenomenon).
Here’s a few popular choices:
– Cross-functional involvement
– Degree of integration with other projects
– Degree of external (or internal) dependencies
– Risk profile
– Utilization of a specific critically bottlenecked resource
Whichever combination of criteria you choose to go with, make sure that EVERYONE that works on projects in your organization has a copy of the criteria and their thresholds printed out and stuck to their cubicle walls like those old HIPAA/PIPEDA (depending on what side of the border you are on) privacy posters…