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Last edit: 05-03-17 Graham Wideman

Intelligence and Change in Enterprises

The Project Proposition
Article created: 99-03-12

Why are Projects so Attractive? The Project Proposition

In order to implement a particular change (a new building, system, product design etc), an enterprise engaged primarily in ongoing "continuous" operations has to set in motion a collection of activities and resources particular to the change. This usually entails considerable out-of-the-ordinary complexity, involving expertise and resources outside those currently marshaled by the enterprise.

To encapsulate the complexity and make it conceptually and logistically digestible to the enterprise and its management, the activity is "packaged" as a Project. The widely held model of the simplification that the project proposition offers is summarized in the following diagram.

proj01.gif (7893 bytes)

The idea is that the Sponsoring Enterprise can reduce the complexity of the situation to just a few "parameters" or "dimensions": The four main parameters usually cited are: Scope, Time, Quality, and Cost.  Risk is implicit, though I have shown it here explicitly.  The Enterprise can seemingly just negotiate these few parameters with an external contractor, or internal group, and then wait for the deliverables to arrive.

Simple... Or Is It?

The field of Project Management has been written about extensively, particularly since 1980.  Considerable consensus has been achieved in distilling project-related topics that are of interest across many different industries.  Issues like the typical project life cycle, techniques for task-breakdown and scheduling and so forth, are well established.

So why is it that projects frequently do not live up to expectations, failing completely, or at least seriously missing targets on one or more of the four main dimensions? 

This leads us to examine projects in more detail....[Next: Project Model Complexity Revealed]

        [Up to: Projects: Implementing Enterprise Change]

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