Definition, characteristics, triggers and success criteria of a Project


According to the PMBOK® Guide:

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
  • Projects enable business value creation
  • 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


Some of the common triggers for a project include:

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

Exercise – give an example of each trigger.

Definition of Success

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

Other key points

  • Projects are how businesses implement change

  • Projects are the link between business strategy and execution.