Imagine this. Somewhere out there, Juan dela Cruz who have been working as an employee for around 30 years of his life finally decided to be his own boss. He is now thinking to go into business. He is thinking to put up an internet café. But he don’t know nothing about starting a business or how to run one. He probably knows some technical stuff about computers but that’s about it.
So what will he do? He contacts Chazper and asks for his advice about his amazing idea of putting up an internet café in Makati City, complete with pastries and drinks. Much like a coffee shop, but each table has a built in computer screen laying flat inside the table… so that customers can put anything on the table without being hindered by the computer.
Added to that, is the ability to pay bills online, buy things from eBay, renew passport online, online flight reservation etc. and just pay these over the counter once done even without a credit card.
“This is a great business model!” he said to Chazper. He also said that he is willing to invest Php 5 million for this project. He wants this to be setup in location XXX in 2 months time so that by December the iCafe is ready to serve people who already have their 13th moth pay and Christmas bonus… hooooraaah! A very great time for opening don’t you think Chaz?
On the point of view of Chazper who will give advice to the client and provide inputs/directions to the hired manager of the client, this is a PROJECT. This might seems obvious, but there are people who misuse the term project with “ongoing operations”.
According to the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Book of Knowledge), Projects are temporary in nature and have definitive start dates and definitive end dates. The project is completed when its goals and objectives are accomplished.
An ongoing business operation of an internet café is not a project. But setting up an internet café business with the target of 8hours computer daily average uptime from day 1 to day 30 is a project. Adding new services to an existing iCafe with a defined timeline and target date to make the service available is a project. But managing an ongoing video editing service alongside with the internet café is not a project, it is instead an operation (i.e. it is ongoing, repetitive and without end date)
The output of any project is unique because it is based on the client’s “own” set of requirements or expectations. For example, the client might want to change the overall business model of his existing iCafe. But as the project progress the characteristics and features of the new business model are incrementally determined and are continually polished. This is called “progressive elaboration”. Because honestly, as an entrepreneur you do not know all the little details of your great and innovative service or product at the very start of the project. You might have a high level idea of what your end product/service looks like but the details are determined as the project progress. What is important to note, in the perspective of project management, only the characteristics of the product/service are progressively elaborated, but the effort needed for the work of the project should remain the same or should be within the set/agreed budget.
With this project based approach, it will help aspiring internet café owners gain advantage especially nowadays there’s the stiff competition between lower class of iCafes with their all too common business model.