What is the difference between the project and operation?
These kinds of questions often come in our thoughts when we discuss the project and operation management. To understand advanced project management concepts, we must have a common understanding of the basic definitions, and terms in project management. Therefore, I am writing a series of blog posts to cover these terms and concepts; e.g. definition of project, operation, program, portfolio, type of organization and many more.
In this blog post, I’ll discuss the Project and Operation and the difference between the two.
What is a Project: As per PMI, “A Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”
If you pay attention to the definition of the project, you will notice two things:
- a project is temporary in nature, and
- a project is undertaken to produce a unique output; e.g. product, service, or result.
The first characteristic of the project is – it is temporary in nature, it has a definitive start and end. A project cannot continue to work forever, it has to end either when the project achieves its objectives, or it is terminated.
Second characteristic of the project is – it produces a unique output. Projects are undertaken to produce a certain output; e.g. any building, setting a call center, or analysis of impact of vehicle’s pollution on the environment etc. Once the project delivers its output, it must end.
What is an Operation: Operations are the ongoing execution of activities that produce the same product, or provide repetitive services. Operations are used to run regular business models. Operations are different as opposed to the Projects, which are known for their uniqueness.
Operational works are performed to achieve a business goal and to sustain the business. They are permanent in nature and their only constraint is to make a profit for the organisation. Any manufacturing or production process can be an example of an Operation.
Difference between the Project and Operation:
- Projects are unique and temporary, while the Operations are ongoing activities and permanent with repetitive output.
- Projects are executed to start a new business objective and terminated when it is achieved, while Operational work is performed to keep organization functioning.
- Projects have definitive beginning and ending, while Operations are ongoing.
- Projects create a unique product, service, or results, while Operations produce the same product.
This is all about the Project versus Operation. Let me know if you require any further clarification and be prepared to see at least one question from this topic in your PMP Certification Exam.