“Time-bound intended change“
The working definition
Can the definition of a project be simplified to reflect its application in all settings of human intervention. All projects categorised together as “time-bound intended change”
For anything requiring human intervention to have project meaning there needs to be a frame of reference. Part of this frame of reference is a context of beginning and end.
Without intent there is no human influence to ascribe frame of reference within a project. This is to be distinguished from human impact more generally. Human influence may well impact other projects, but without intent no cause or effect is of itself a project.
All projects are human vehicles of change. We are agents of unnatural change in fragile arenas that we barely comprehend. Change is the constant.
Why attempt this simplification?
I am seeking a definition that enables a link to some very different notions of what projects reflect. I am sceptical of all definitions offered in these disciplines simply because they appear to be bound by the perceived limitations of the subjects they form a part. But my challenge is why? If a psychological project of understanding of a part of the psyche can be afforded the same parameters as the building of the pyramids or a mission to eradicate hunger or cure cancer or broker a peace in a time of war, what can project theory from one discipline teach others?
Why has economics and politics and theory of the firm defined our daily lives? These are amalgamations of process, or dynamics of variables, or moral judgements. Why not talk of all of these notions in terms of their intended outcome? The project (i.e., the intended change) they represent. It is our ability to understand the reality of natural change that defines the limits of our temporary control. Our intervention, as intended change by the human will vs. the will or randomness of nature. Why not simply talk of all such intentions to change nature in project terms? As human beings it is what makes us uniquely accountable for the change we instigate. This is our project. Unfortunately, we are yet to agree upon its goal.
It is our forever failure to view this precarious and temporary order, and our modal confusion that results, that inevitably and unavoidably underpins our divergent project motives. Our near infinite number of “time bound intended change” are but projects within projects. Each project reflects our own particular perceived needs, and therefore necessarily conflicts with others. Be that natures will, or the will of others. By our blinkered perspective our projects become win or lose to those of others. Maybe we are more than a zero sum game. Maybe our projects can be too.
Characteristics of all time-bound intended change
The frame of reference of a time-bound intended change is incomplete unless in can be bound within a context. The following are my first attempts at outlining a frame of reference that is ubiquitous:
original state | core | framework | external impact | end state
Original state | core … | End state
All cores reflect an intended change to the original state, but not all projects are successful against this core. Many of our projects fail at this first basic step of acknowledging original state, the end state or the core which connects the two. Our intended change is failed to be defined before we even start. Not all definitions of a core therefore enable success to be measured. Not all measures of success reflect the intended change. Nor are all original states changed, or all changes as intended.
The means to manage our intended change are then defined. This is the core as it is to be housed within its framework of control. Not all frameworks are appropriate to support the core. I would argue the majority of projects fail because of this missed step. Ensuring all are protected is a very human trait to ignore. I would also argue that this necessary step is itself a project and is too often overlooked.
Not all frameworks are appropriate to manage the safety of all project actors or the external impacts beyond its boundary lines.
All projects include at least one actor, being the project initiator. This is a human intervention, or a failure to do so.
A second actor is passive or at least not consulted. We have ignored it for too long. That second actor is our environment. It is both a project actor, and the framework in which all of our projects reside. At least until we find the means to be independent of physical constraints, or the environment responds in ways in which we cannot manage or survive.
External impact includes the well-being of those actors within the project. External impact includes all other projects or steady states with which it interacts. They all include environmental factors therein.