The Nature of the Product
The first indication of a potential project is in the expression of a need
to be fulfilled, an opportunity to be captured, or even a crisis to be averted
or mitigated. If it is determined that a project should therefore be undertaken,
initial planning centers around gaining an understanding of the nature and extent
of the product of this effort. More often than not, the result
of this effort is some form of tangible artifact, and examples include such
items as new physical plant, infrastructure, or new product such as an automobile
or appliance. Based on these types of product, we may label the project as tangible.
However, the underlying purpose of any project is to add value in some way.
This value may well be vested in the tangible artifact itself, as in the examples
quoted. On the other hand, the real value of the project´s product may not
be in the physical artifact but in its intellectual property
value. Some examples include software, a new system, administrative plan, reorganization,
book, poem and so on. Based on these types of product, we may label the project
We may now arrive at the following definitions.
A. "Tangible" Product
A tangible product is one in which the primary value is in the physical artifact.
It is the value of the artifact that distinguishes it from other products. A
new building is a well-recognized example of this type of product.
B. "Intangible" Product
An intangible product is one in which the value is in its intellectual property.
Although there is some physical result, this is not the essence of the product.
The essential feature is new information and its physical aspect is only a vehicle
for its conveyance and transformation. Software is a prime example.