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Public-sector infrastructure project management. Definition of a project

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Introduction to infrastructure projects and definition of a project

Projects in the context of infrastructure are an operational tool for the development of different regions, spheres, and sectors.

Project management is a subject area of ​​knowledge and experience and one of the relatively new management approaches in the public sector.

The concept of project management, through the application of modern methods, tools, and techniques, which has long been tested in countries with traditional market economies, has entered our country. This concept is based on an integrated approach to project cycle management throughout all phases to ensure that it remains consistent with feasibility, compatibility, and sustainability.

Along with the knowledge and skills in the field of classical management science, a core of knowledge about the nature and concept of the structural approach to project management is needed.


Definition of a project

There are many definitions of a project in the scientific literature. Still, approaches to defining it in the theoretical field cannot be combined into a single idea and complex views.

According to S. Burton and N. Michael, the project is a work that has a beginning and an end; it is planned and controlled; it aims to provoke change and can lead to a successful ending.

Other authors define the project as an organized intention aimed at accomplishing specific, non-routine, irreversible tasks, an aggregate process for producing a specific result, detailed activities planned for a defined duration, and a particular purpose.

In the field of business, "project" means a set of interrelated activities that are carried out by a team for a specified period, with a clearly defined end goal. In modern project management, the term "project" is defined as the process of carrying out a set of purposeful actions for the creation of a new, unique product within the established budget, time and quality.

Similar definitions for a project are found in the scientific literature in many countries around the world. According to some authors, the project is a means of achieving individual goals, solving problems and making changes, a vision for the future, and a way to realize it.

Another definition of the project is that it is a temporary endeavor taken to create a unique product or service. A project can be defined as a set of planned activities to meet needs, achieve specific goals and deliverables, and as a set of ideas, plans, and actions for changing the existing situation or innovation in a business or public sphere with limited time and resources.

The project is seen as a management entity that is defined by a unique scope of activities, requires a new organization, and is goal-oriented to achieve the change needed.

Other authors describe the project as a system of goals for the realization of physical objects, technological processes, technical and organizational documentation, and resources, as well as management decisions and activities for their implementation.

The various normative documents and the status of a system of project management standards also contain project definitions.

Definition of a project according to the American Institute for Project Management 

The American Institute for Project Management defines a project as a set of time-limited efforts to create a unique product or service.

In quality management systems, the project is defined as follows: a process aimed at achieving the set goals and objectives within a specific set of conditions.

Definition of a project according to the European Union

European Union documents define the project as an operation selected for an operational program carried out by one or more beneficiaries to achieve the objectives of the priority to which it belongs, as well as as a specific activity with a definite beginning and end, which is aimed at achieving a specific goal.

The project can also be considered as the smallest operational element, prepared and implemented as a stand-alone unit in a national plan or program.

Characteristics of projects

Each project has the following characteristics:

  • a unique set of activities;
  • temporary (beginning and ending);
  • predefined and measurable results;
  • a set of results-driven activities;
  • certain resources for project implementation;
  • an organizational management structure and a specially formed project implementation team;
  • aims at achieving a clearly defined goal;
  • contains uncertainty and risk.

In all areas of social and economic life, projects are being implemented - investment, engineering, environmental, research, management, both in the public and private sectors.

Business projects

Business projects (private projects) are undertaken mainly by the private sector. They are very diverse in terms of results and immediate objectives and relatively limited in terms of end goals, among which financial results play an essential role. In a broader sense, business projects may also include projects to improve the quality of service provided by public institutions.

In public projects, the public sector plays a leading role, providing funding, including through international financial institutions and support programs. These projects solve important problems of the socio-economic development of the respective country (region, community) and are evaluated in terms of the benefits to society as a whole.

Private business plays an important role in the implementation of public projects as a supplier of goods and services, contractors, or project beneficiaries.

Based on the general definition of a project, a public project can be defined as a set of interrelated activities aimed at achieving specific goals and results, within a specified time and with specific resources, taking into account the influence of the internal and external environment.

Public project and public program

Public projects are part of national development programs. Each project has individual, specific goals that contribute to the overall goal of the program.

The program can be seen as a framework providing strategic direction to a group of projects so that combining them will have a synergistic effect in achieving the development goals.

Each program is a collection of related projects managed in a coordinated way to reap benefits that cannot be managed individually.

In European Union documents, the program is defined as a document containing a coherent set of priorities and is a coherent series of different projects with clearly defined objectives for the framework policy, budget, and deadlines.

A public program is defined as a set of priorities for the development of a region, sphere, or sector covering multiannual measures. It is a complex intervention consisting of a set of projects that together contribute to a common objective at sectoral and territorial level. The program establishes goals, priorities, and standards covering all public action in a given sector/area, by applying conventional approaches from partners.

It can be summarized that the public program is a collection of projects, participants, and financial resources aimed at achieving a common goal in the priority area.

The adopted project and program definitions in the public sector make it possible to derive their distinctive characteristics: clearly defined goals; Exactly fixed resources, deadlines, and contractors; specially formed team for their realization; accurate analysis of the surrounding socio-economic and political environment and the impact it has on projects and programs.

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Author: BVOP™ Published on: Saturday Nov 16, 2019

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