A paper presented to the first Engineering Congress, The Institution of Engineers, India - Calcutta, January 1987

Introduction | Definition | Traditional | Hard-Soft | Environment
Characteristics | Concepts | Control | Breakdown | Fundamentals
Prerequisites | Summary | Appendix A | Appendix B

Hard and Soft Projects

Although as engineers we are principally concerned with "capital" or "hard" projects, it is worth noting that the principals I want to describe are equally applicable to both "hard" and "soft" projects, and in fact whether they are large or small.

Hard Projects - those in which the final result is a relatively unique tangible product, such as a building, production plant or "utility".

Soft Projects - those in which the final result is not in itself a tangible asset. These may include an office relocation, establishing a new administrative system or even launching a new television program. The point is a project is not an on-going activity. Rather, it is an understanding that ends with a specific accomplishment and the product or end result is a distinguishing characteristic.

Thus project management should be applied whenever there is a single, identifiable, overall task which is:

  • Complex (that is, requiring reciprocal organizational and technological interdependencies);
  • Interdisciplinary (requiring coordination of two or more functional units or departments); and
  • Finite (in terms of completion date as well as performance and cost objectives).
Traditional Management  Traditional Management

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