OK, so we're developing a project management software (of sorts, way wider scope) where we basically divide everything into 3 levels, organizations, projects and roles.

However, there has been some complaining that we're using the word 'project' too loosely, i.e. involving cases that do not really have any goals/endpoints. Also, it would make a lot of sense for us to separate the static project type from normal projects. Having a good label for it would also help design work.

A few cases:

1) Organization X is developing software Y for some client Z. Person A contributes in the developer role, person B as a designer and person C as a manager. This activity can clearly be called a project and the product is a piece of software.

2) Client Z outsources some static, repetitive sales work to organization X. Person A contributes as a salesman, person B handles management and person C the bureaucracy work. The product can be seen as a service, and the activity is ???

So far the top candidates are

A) Job

The problem with this is that all of the roles are technically jobs and it would seem unnatural to have a role inside a job.

B) Service

This seems wrong as service seems to be to 2) what software is to 1). What we need is what X is to 2) where project is to 1).

Other than that, we're drawing blanks, probably partly due to not being native English speakers. It's a silly issue, but something we still need to solve well.

Bonus points for the term not being overly technical.

  • If it's not a project, it's probably an ongoing process or an ad-hoc service.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Jul 4, 2015 at 0:57
  • Process kinda sounds like a superset for project/'static' project, and generally just plain feels wrong for the case
    – Seppo420
    Jul 4, 2015 at 1:01

2 Answers 2


Ongoing work of fixed type is generally called "Operations". Hence why in traditional PMI a project has a hand off to operations.

When an amusement park is built, it's a project. When it is done, it is handed over to an operations team to run it.


What you are describing is BAU (Business As Usual).

Using the Prince2 guidelines; Projects can be easily recognised as possessing 5 characteristics;


Projects are a way to introduce change. Example: A new sales website will change how clients will purchase items


There should always be a definite start and end to a project, and it should stop once the required products are created. Ongoing maintenance of a product occurs after the project and is not considered part of the project.


A project involves people from different business departments and seniority that work together for the duration of the project.


Every project is unique, as there is always something different in each project. Example: Building a 4th house may be different in the following ways: the location is different, there’s a slight difference in the design, there are different owners, and owners want to change some fittings.


As parts of the project are unique, this brings uncertainty, as you are not 100% sure how this is going to work out. Using the above example, the owners might keep changing their mind, some of their chosen house fittings may not arrive in time, temperatures may fall to below zero, etc.

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