(n) toxicity (the degree to which something is poisonous)
Management of an organisation that is quite obviously based around products but chooses to see everything as projects creates a mismatch between how an organisation is run and what they try to accomplish. The structure in use to enable the accomplishment of work defines the foundation which future work is built on.
You would not, I hope, build a sprawling villa on ground that does not carry, lest you do not seek to repeat a classic scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
“When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.”
There are several lessons to be extracted from that quote about trying and failing, iterating, feedback loops, starting over, et cetera. Our focus is on the obvious one; do not build on unstable foundation.
A project by definition is something that should be accomplished with a fixed amount of resources within a fixed timeframe. When the goals are achieved the project is dee-oh-en-ee: done.
Ergo projects have limited lifespans, which is something products do not. A product strives to live as long as it can. If it cannot pay for its own way in terms of further development and operational costs it is proven to not have a place in the market in its current form.
A few trends that emerge every time I work with an organisation that has structured themselves around projects can be summarised by this little tale about a man collecting sticks.