What is a Project? How Do You Know If You Have Been Given A Project?

What is a Project

How do you know if you have been given a project? What is a project and what is a piece of work. In this post I will help you identify what is a project and what is a piece of work. This post is part of the series on what to do if you have been given a project but are not a project manager.

What is a Project

So your boss has just walked in and has given you a project but you still have a day job to do. Having never managed a project before where do you start?

The first thing to do is work out if you have been given a project or an ongoing piece of work. It is really important to understand this right at the start as you need to know when you have successfully completed the task.

Unfortunately the term project is often applied to something that is not a project. This can often lead to confusion as to type of work required in order to complete a task.

What Is A Project

  • Start – has a definite start date. In other words it did not exist before a certain point in time
  • Finish – has a definite finish. It does not carry on indefinitely
  • Unique – It must be a one off and not repeatable
  • Delivery – creates something that did not exist before the project started.

If you can tick all four of the above then congratulations you have a project. The good news is with it being a project you will be able to apply simple project management techniques in order to succeed and complete what you have been asked to do. Once you know you have been given a project the next step is to establish what the objectives are. I will cover how to identify these objectives in my next post.


What is a Project? Has a start, an end, is unique and will deliver something new.

So have you been given a project or a piece of ongoing work? Would you add anything else to the definition of what is a project?