One of side discussions here on PMSE brought me to this: what exactly do we understand when we say "a project?"
The most obvious thing is to start with Wikipedia definition:
A project is a temporary endeavor, having a defined beginning and end (usually constrained by date, but can be by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, usually to bring about beneficial change or added value.
However this brings me to another problem: using this definition in orthodox way would make many ventures, well, non-projects. Consider Google search as an example - its development isn't constrained by date or funding or specific deliverables, yet my guess is no one would deny it is a project.
Also, many R&D projects don't suit the definition well. Same with many startup projects which change rapidly along with their constraints.
Then, even if we think about "classic" software projects, when exactly do they end? I mean there's maintenance and operations and such and you can treat it as a part of a project or not. If the former is true we come back to constraint problem - how long is the venture going to last?
So what would be a common definition of a software project?
Note: I didn't try to make the question cross-industrial as that would be even more difficult to define, so let's stick with software.