A project is very different from an operation work. In fact, projects and operations comprise the only two aspects of work existing in any organization. Of course, depending on the size and the needs of the organization, projects may or may not be part of existing programs or portfolios- both of them can be broken into several projects (PMI, 2013). Projects and operations are different in various ways. Here I list some of them in contrast: initiation, duration, operation process and budget. 1. Initiation. Projects are initiated by organizations for a variety of reasons, such as to meet a business need, attain a strategic objective or meet a market demand. Projects are created under specific needs. While operations work are to make sure the organization run smoothly, effectively, and professionally. Operations consist of all the activities that contribute directly to an organization’s main areas of work (Wetfeet, 2012).
Consider a clothing manufactory, which manufactures and sells clothing in its own stores. Operations would include everything from the manufacturing of clothing, to the shipment of that clothing to its retail stores, to the systems the company uses to track clothing that’s sold at regular prices, at sale prices, returned by the customer, and so on. It would also include the fulfillment of orders placed on the company’s website, and the customer service staff that helps customers with problems, complaints, or other issues. However, if the company has decided to produce a series of special clothing for this year’s Christmas, which will be sold only during the Christmas season, this initiative has become a project. 2. Duration. Projects are temporary in nature with a definite start and end.
A project will end when it reaches its goal, or is terminated for various reasons (eg. the organization has changed the goal of the project, or the goal is not achievable…etc.), while operations start and end with the establishment and the closing of the company. It is also notable that a project can last for years or months and the effect and impact can last even longer far beyond the end of the project. 3. Operation process. Each project is aimed to create a unique outcome- a product, service or result. The operation process might be very different from one project to another, and the expertise involved can also be very distinctive. For instance, the operation process of a construction project is very different from an agriculture project, and the specific knowledge required will also be different.