I am little confused with a difference between project and process.

Is "An upgrade of software on 100 machines or 1 machine" a project or a process?

Any help would be much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


From a great article on the subject at https://theprocessconsultant.com/process-project-even-matter/:

Processes are repeatable. Projects are one-offs.

In detail:

Projects are one-offs. At the very least you perform them infrequently. Yes, I know there are such things as project templates. That kind of implies that projects are repeatable. If you are planning a set of activities towards some goal for the first time, it’s a project. Now, if you end up repeating it over and over based on the same plan, I’d say it has become a process.

Processes are repeatable. They create value by producing a given output on demand. In a way, it’s like an excel function. You put the numbers in and out pops the result. You don’t have to think about it. But someone did the first time through. The designer of the Excel function spent a lot of time getting that right, you can be sure.

And this is the difference that has the impact. The fact that the activities are repeated means that you can effectively amortize the planning effort over many repetitions. You have to plan a project every time. The effort has to pay off from the outcome of the one time you execute the project.

So you asked "An upgrade of software on 100 machines or 1 machine" is a project or process?

There is a process that needs to be defined (if you want to be efficient) how to upgrade a machine. This process will take X minutes and have Y steps and Z ways to check it was done properly. let's call this the upgrade process.

Upgrading 100 machines is a project that will define on which machines (and in what order) you will execute the upgrade process, how many resources you will allocate to it, and when you plan on starting. This will result in a schedule which you can then use to track the progress of this project.

This project can be summarized as "execute the upgrade process 100 times".

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