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Unformatted text preview: he work content of a project. The reader may be wondering why we are covering this topic at the end of the book, rather than at the beginning. The reason for this is twofold. First, the definition of the project work content is different from project management. How to define or specify a project has been the subject of previous books. The focus of this book is not on project specification but on how to manage a project (given that it is reasonably specified). Second, we wanted the book to get into the essentials of project management as quickly as possible, assuming that this, rather than project specification, is the subject of most readers' interest. It is only because project definition and specification are relevant to assessing the possibility of salvaging a failing project that it is brought into our discussion here. There are various views on how to define or specify projects and various methods that support these views. Our intent here is to give some advice that should work well for most project situations a reader might encounter without making any claim to an exhaustive treatment of the subject. The approach proposed in this section is designed to deal with both problems 1 and 2 listed in the previous section, namely the problems of ambiguous project definitions and of Page 247 communicating the project definition to the project team. It is an approach with which the author has had considerable experience and the one that was used for specifying the Modern Project system that is provided with this book. For many projects, the outcome is something that someone will use, such as a computer system, an appliance, a factory, or a dwelling. All of these things that people use can be explained in the context of a "User's Manual." While dwellings are not customarily described in a user's manual, presumably it would be possible to do so. The reason for including in the list of project outcomes something that could be described by a user's manual is to illustrate that we are considering outcomes that could be described this way, rather than things that are described this way. A user's manual is a document about a product from which a potential user of the product can learn how to use the product. Such a description of the product conveys what the product does for the user and how the user interacts with the product, rather than how the product was built. In our context, how the product is built is in the domain of the project plan, whereas how the product relates to the user is in the domain of the project description or specification. One of the advantages of the user's manual for both the user of the product and the producer of the product is that it separates the product concept from the product implementation. This separation of concept from implementation is useful in communicating the intrinsic nature of the product (via its concept) unencumbered by unnecessary details of its implementation. Consequently, a user's manual is often a remarkably good instrument for communicating a product concept from product specifier to product producer, even thoug...
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