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Operations Management Based on ISO 21500

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Operations Management based on ISO 21500.

Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward. – Joy Gumz.

Operations Management concept compared with Project Panagement is covered in the ISO 21500 International Standard for Project Management, including the concept of ‘Projects and Operations’. Please share your comments! :).

ISO 21500 in regards to the difference between Projects and Operations states that “Projects are performed by temporary teams, are non-repetitive and create original deliverables.”

From this definition, we can highlight the following facts:

Permanent Teams vs Temporary teams

The tasks that a company performs to achieve its goals can be classified into operations (or services) and projects.

A project is temporary according to its own definition and unique nature of the tasks to be done. Likewise, the teams involved are also temporary. A “project team” is set up at the beginning of a project and is released at the end.

This is one of the three key differences with operations, where “service teams” are stable performing repetitive tasks that support the Services to be delivered to the business.

Repetitive Tasks vs Non-repetitive Tasks

This is another key difference related with the “unique” attribute. A main difference between projects and operations, is that in projects tasks are not repetitive. That is, the processes involved in Project Management are not repetitive, which makes a big difference with Service Management processes. In comparison with the ongoing tasks of maintenance performed in operations, the project tasks in a project are related in order to build a product. So, non-repetitive task are always associated with Projects.

Non-Original Deliverables vs Create original deliverables

This third key difference is also concerning the “unique” aspect. Creating original new deliverables is a main characteristic of a Project, and is what it distinguishes it from ongoing operations. The outcomes of a project should add new value to previous operations in the form of new products, new functionalities, new capacities, etc. Something new must be delivered at the end of a project.

If we combine this third point with the second one (non-repetitive), we can conclude also that operation’s deliverables are produced in a repetitive (continuous or regular) way (e.g. resolving incidents, resolving support requests, etc.). But Projects produce their deliverables at specific milestones (i.e. end of project phases or at the end of the project).

What do you think about the difference between Projects and Operations?

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