From the PMBOK, a project is a "temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result." In other words, a project is distinguished from an on-going operation, repetitive process, in that it is temporary. And it must create something new, something unique. Many activities that we might use the word project for in everyday English are not projects within the project management definition.


While there are exceptions, here are some general examples. (Please feel free to add more.)


  • developing a new product
  • setting up a workspace
  • researching and writing a book
  • building a bridge
  • hosting a one-time academic conference
  • creating a cloud server farm

Not projects:

  • managing an assembly line
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • filling in workforms
  • running a restaurant
  • processing sales orders

Related: project team, sponsor, project charter, project management plan