Definition, characteristics, examples, triggers and success criteria of a Project


A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.


  • Project is a temporary endeavor, i.e. it has a definite beginning and end
  • Projects drive change; in other words, projects are how businesses implement change
  • Projects enable business value creation
  • Projects are the link between business strategy and execution
  • Deliverables of a project can be any one or a combination of the following:
    • Product, e.g. a building, a machine, a software
    • Service, e.g. a business function
    • Result, e.g. an R&D report, a recommendation report
  • Project is closed when:
    • Objectives are met, OR
    • Project is terminated for reasons such as:
      • Objectives cannot be met
      • Need for the project no longer exists
      • Project runs out of budget

Project Initiation Context

Projects are initiated for 4 reasons as shown in the diagram below.


Example of a project include:

  • Construction of a building
  • Organizing a birthday party
  • Development of a website
  • Set up of a call center
  • Your project management certification


Some of the common triggers for a project include:

  • Market Demand
  • Strategic Opportunity / Business Need
  • Customer Request
  • Technological Advance
  • Legal Requirement
  • Social Need

Definition of Success

Traditionally, project success was measured in terms of time, cost, scope, and quality. The more modern view calls for also measuring the extent to which the project objectives are met.

Therefore, success of a project is measured by product and project quality, timeliness, budget compliance, and degree of customer satisfaction.

It is possible for a project to be successful from a scope/schedule/budget viewpoint, and to be unsuccessful from a business viewpoint. This can occur when there is a change in the business needs or the market environment before the project is completed.


  1. Give an example of each trigger listed above.

  2. Which of the following is/are candidate(s) for a Project?

    • Construction of a building
    • Business process re-engineering
    • Helpdesk
    • Development of a new smartphone
    • Manufacturing of cars
    • Development of a new web application
    • IT Datacenter setup
    • IT Datacenter operations
Last updated: June 29, 2024