Often computing work fails because there is a mis-estimate of the work involved. While the work should have been planned and implemented as a project, instead it was under-estimated and treated as a task.
A task has limited impact and risks, and often can be completed by an individual. A project, on the other hand, has wider impact and higher risks, and needs planning for resources and schedule with a team.
Although any one of the factors below may not make a task become a project, if a task involves a few of the factors then it is a good indication it should be treated as a project. Of the factors listed, 'potential impact' is the most important indicator.
Project work should:
|Number of groups to be coordinated|
|Potential risks||Only low risks may be acceptable for some user groups
|Complexity of technology, tasks and systems|
|Time to recover from failure||
|Length of time involved|
Other useful documents:
'Is Your Project Out of Control?' (Microsoft Solutions Framework)
Organizational Maturity Chart (Microsoft Solutions Framework)
Desktop-Admin, Nov. 2001
Updated December 19, 2002