Let’s add one more ingredient…

…which we do with a nervous glance toward the future–the implementation project that will follow the signing of contracts. The specification of the software itself is mostly – mostly, not entirely – about a product, a thing that one buys. But the implementation is not a tangible thing. It is a collection of very expensive and interrelated tasks, to be performed jointly by people who have never worked together before and who do not understand what half of their new partners do for a living. A collection of tasks is very different from any single task. A task can and must be performed, but a collection of tasks can only be managed. There is one bedrock requirement that underlies all that is known and believed about managing collections of tasks, and it is this: that every task being performed must be identified. It cannot be planned if it is not identified, it cannot be measured if it is not identified, and project management is mostly about planning and measuring the work to be performed.