There are three terms that are critical:
TASK has a beginning and end, smallest unit of work
PROJECT has a beginning and end, composed of lots of tasks
PROCESS goes forever (think Payroll), composed of repeating tasks
What do you think ‘email’ is? If you guessed PROCESS, you are correct. Email never ends even though we imagine that it is a Task and that we should be able to manage it. Ha!
Here’s the big problem – Projects (think of this as building something) become a Process (think of this as maintenance). The point where this transition occurs is usually ugly and undefined.
TIP: Using the Project Charter (Tip #3) and great communication with your stakeholders, establish as early as possible who and how this transition will occur. Do not wait until you need it – no one wants to help you then.