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what project managers do

Which of these scenarios are operations, and which are projects?

1. Building an extension on a house

7. Knitting a scarf Project

  c  X    c   c    c X  X    c   c X 


c X  c  X  c X  c c  c 

  c    c  X    c   c X    c X  X    c


c X  X  c c  c  X  c c 


2. Shelving books at the library Operation Project

8. Making a birdhouse Operation Project

3. Baking a wedding cake Operation Project

9. Changing your air filters every six months Operation Project

4. Stapling programs for a play Operation Project

10. Running an assembly line in a toy factory Operation Project

5. Watering your plants twice a week Operation Project

11. Organizing a large conference Operation Project

6. Walking the dog every day Operation Project

12. Going to the gym three times a week Operation Project

Answers on page 18.


Knowledge, performance, and personal skills are the three areas that project managers focus on to get better at their jobs. When you’re talking about things like the people in your organization, the market you compete in, your company’s risk tolerance, and standards that your company needs to meet (like government-imposed standards for any contractor bidding on a government project), you’re talking about Enterprise Environmental Factors.


A program is a collection of projects that should be managed together in order to achieve a specific goal or benefit to the company. A portfolio is a collection of projects or programs. A project gathers a team together to do work that’s temporary, creates a unique result, and is progressively elaborated. An operation (or process) is work that’s done in a way that’s repeatable and ongoing, but is not a project.


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