Project management

What is a project?

VPAF's PMO supports PMI’s definition of a project: “A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”

A project will meet the following FUSA criteria:

  • Finite: has specific start and end dates
  • Unique: distinct from change management or operational maintenance with repetitive tasks or objectives
  • Specific: intended to meet measurable, isolated, unique set of objectives
  • Adequate: has adequate scope of work and resources that would benefit from project management tools and techniques

Please refer to the Project Complexity Chart for information on how to size your project.

What is a benefit?  How does it differ from goals, objectives, and deliverables?

Benefit: Answers "How will the project support the business?"

Benefits provide the justification for executing or justifying a project. They clarify "what's in it for me?" Benefits are achieved through the delivery of goals and objectives.

Goal: Answers "What will the project do to support the business benefit?"

Goals are much broader and longer term.  A goal does not have a set of actions associated with it.  A goal can be thought of as a vision for a program.

Objective: Answers "What are the specific project results?  What is the project specifically trying to achieve?"

Objectives are more in depth, shorter term, and provide a series of blueprints or actions to support what the project is trying to achieve (goals and benefits). Objectives are tangible and measurable and must be SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related).

Deliverable: Answers "What item(s) is the project expected to provide?"

Deliverables are the expected items to be delivered by the team.  A project objective should be achieved through the deliverable(s) of the project.

What is project management?

Project management (PM) is the application of processes, tools, templates, and techniques included in a PM methodology that progresses the project through a PM life cycle to successfully deliver a change.  The change  is in the form of an end deliverable, which could be a product or a service. 

What is our project management methodology?

Once a project has been approved through project intake, the Project management methodology for managing projects progresses projects through 4 life cycle phases. Inputs and deliverables vary depending upon project size, complexity, timeline, and project management approach (e.g. agile, interactive, waterfall).

  1. Initiation: define the project objectives, scope, roles & responsibilities, and obtains authorization to begin
  2. Planning: establish work break down, how it will be achieved, when, and by who. 
  3. Execution: manage time, scope, procurement, risk, communications, resources, costs/budget, changes, and quality.  Track and report on project status.
  4. Closure: finalize all activities, complete deliverable(s), measure success, and formally closes the project

How does the project management methodology integrate with a product life cycle such as the SDLC?

Project Management and Product Delivery Life Cycles

In the above diagram the PM life cycle is demonstrated by the outer ring with the directional arrow moving through the four phases. The inner circle reflects the product and service delivery life cycles with the flow moving between five phases - Requirements Analysis, Design & Development, Testing, Implementation, Post Production Maintenance & Evolution. This life cycle displays a continuous flow between the five phases as upgrades and improvements will follow the same phases after implementation. The IT product delivery life cycle is the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The SDLC cycle may be a series of smaller cycles/iterations or sprints for an iterative or agile development delivery approach, or may be one cycle for a purely waterfall approach.

To successfully deliver the change, a project life cycle and methodology is applied to the product or service delivery life cycle.

During iterative phases of project planning and execution, the product’s life cycle will be accounted for, ensuring successful product or service delivery.