What is a project, and how can we define it? "Project" is a word we all have used millions of times, but we need to have a precise and shared definition of it to open our training experience together. First of all, projects are part of human history, probably since ever. The Great Pyramid of Giza, built about forty-five centuries ago is an impressive work: 146.5 meters high, 5.9 million tons as total mass, composed of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite. The project lasted around 25 years, and approximately 200,000 slaves worked to finalize it. This human artifact holds a remarkable record: it has been the tallest human artifact for more than 38 centuries. We do not have a historical document reporting the managerial side of such a work, but we can be sure that it was carefully planned and controlled during the execution phase. Looking for official documents reporting project management quotes, we find a very interesting phrase in the Gospel according to Luke that says: "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish". This is a crystal clear example of project management. When we start a project, indeed, we need an exact scope, to define the activities and resources, and to be sure that they will be available at the right moment to perform the planned tasks. Don't worry. Talking about project management, we will not constantly refer to Pyramids or the Bible. When we talk about modern project management, we refer to a list of tools and methodologies developed across the last century. Around 1910, Henry Gantt created the famous "Gantt Diagram". Since then, many other tools were introduced, like the PERT diagrams developed for the project Polaris or the Earned Value Management methodology developed by the Department of Defense of the United States of America to improve the control of project performances. The military sector first, and later the infrastructural one, have been the industries in which the project Management discipline was developed. This should not come as a surprise if we consider that time (for military) and cost (for infrastructure) are two strategic constraints directly correlated with the company (and often the country) success. Understanding the real nature of the project's cost and time is crucial to define what a project is. Probably many of you have heard before that any project can be described through the iron-triangle. At the top there is the Scope of the project, which is the description of the final output; while at the bottom there is time and cost. The three elements are connected. If you want to double the Scope without impacting the time, you'll have to increase the resources and the cost. If you want to half the time, you'll either have to reduce the Scope or increase the cost. Even if this three elements are connected, though, we need to clearly bear in mind that they are not equal. The real reason we do a project is to obtain the Scope. Time and cost are not, and will never be, the objective of the project. They are like the dark side of the project, the pain to get to the Scope. Therefore we should always refer to time and cost as constraints, as in the definition of project provided by Turner: a project is an endeavor in which human, material, and financial resources are organized in a novel way, to undertake a unique scope of work, of given specification, within constraints of cost and time, so as to achieve beneficial change defined by quantitative or qualitative objectives. Given this definition of project, we can now focus our attention on Project Management. The first question we want to address is if Project Management is a discipline. Experts and researchers extensively investigated if the way to manage projects depends on the nature of the scope and related industry. Managing a project for developing a space shuttle is significantly different from managing a change management project or a project for a performing art show. Are there specific rules, dynamics, and tools that can be used for each project, regardless of the industry and the output? Today's answer is that these managerial activities have many points in common, constituting a discipline that will be presented and further explored in this course. An essential contribution to the affirmation of Project Management as a discipline was given by multiple organizations born to define a common language and a shared approach to project management. The most famous of these organizations are certainly the PMI (Project Management Institute), an American organization, and the IPMA (International Project Management Association), located in Switzerland. Both organizations have their own body of knowledge and release internationally valid certifications to recognize a project manager's skills. These associations' first and major contribution was precisely the recognition of Project Management as a discipline. In other words, as a set of rules, dynamics, and methodologies that do not depend on the specific context but are valid for each project.