Chicago’s Rollout–What is a Project?

Welcome to those who heard the radio broadcast on Friday night (6:30-7:30 CST, February 21st) of Chicago’s Rollout program on!  This was our first show on the subject of project management which was titled “The Projects.”   What I’m going to do in the next few posts before our next show is introduce the definition of a project and then give you a project to work on called “Changing a Habit.”  Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.


DEFINITION OF A PROJECT–ordinary and technical definitions

When we talk about a project, the ordinary definition tells us that a project is a “large or major planned undertaking.”   So it’s a lot of work that is somehow organized to get done in a systematic way.

What is the technical definition of a project according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge?   It is a temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product, service or result.

Let’s look at the technical definition more closely.


This means that it has a start and a stop.   Each project has five phases, the first of which is the “start” of a project called the initiating phase.   The fifth or last phase is the “close” of a project and it is called the closing phase.

It is in contrast to the operations of a business, for example, which are example of continuous activities that keep on going indefinitely as long as the business continues to exist.   The regular business operations are covered by Bert Howard in his segment on “Business” during the first week of every month.


If you have an idea for some new product, you can create a project to design, manufacture, and distribute that product.    But the Project Management Institute realizes that there can also be a project which improves upon an existing produce, service or result.   The project we will do on changing a habit is exactly this other type of project, because what you will be improving upon is yourself, by getting rid of a bad habit or starting a good one.


As we see above, a project can be started to create a new product.   But you can also start a project with the aim of creating a new service.  Let’s say that you want to open a transportation service to help those in your neighborhood who may not have access to public transportation to get groceries, go to doctor’s appointments, etc.   Setting up a company to provide that service would also be an example of a project.

Finally, a project can produce a result, such as the creation in a church of a directory of members so that people can get a hold of their fellow church members outside of church.

So the above covers what a project is about.   The next posts will cover Creating a Habit and I will put these posts up between now (starting Sunday) and the time of next week’s program on Friday, February 28th.    Next week’s program will be led by Bert Howard and will cover art, architecture and design.   We’ll see you all on the next … Rollout!

(NOTE:  For those who are regular readers of this blog, the “Chicago’s Rollout” blog posts are geared towards those who have no background in project management.   We are assuming that the listeners want to understand basic concepts of project management in the hopes that they can use the material to improve their everyday lives on a practical level.   Of course, it is always our hope it may spark an interest in studying the subject further.)


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