University of Illinois System
Last item for navigation

Project Definition Recommendations


A project is defined as an effort to create or modify a specific product or service.  Projects are temporary work efforts with a clear beginning and end.  Projects can be completely contained within a specific unit or department, or include other organizations and vendors.  A work effort may be considered a project if it meets the criteria established by the organization.  Example criteria are provided below: 

  • The project is estimated to take over 250 hours. (each organization can define what they believe is a project)
  • The project is estimated to take longer than six months.
  • The project or probable solution is considered to be complicated.
  • The project involves unfamiliar technologies, new products, or unique solutions.
  • The project will involve more than one department, or multiple units within the organization.
  • The project has dependencies to other projects or vendors.
  • The project has a high impact to other users, or impacts a large number of users.
  • The project is considered to be a high profile project for the department.
  • The project must be delivered within a short or specific timeline.

Service Request / Work Request

If a work effort is under 250 hours and does not have any of the critical project factors listed above, the effort can be considered a Service or Work Request.  These efforts are not required to go through the origination phase or follow the project management methodology.  We recommend that the following information is tracked for each service request or work request:

  • Brief description
  • Requestor
  • Work effort estimate
  • Target completion date
  • Owner
  • Start date