Universe of Projects


Healthcare and Project Management


By Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP

Hyderabad, India


As with any other industry and its varied working methods, healthcare comprises numerous projects aligned with its goals of enhancing health and quality of life. Classification of these projects is vital to understand the similarities and differences. It’s important to note the similarities in the component projects and group them to realize benefits from synergy, such as learning, automation, documentation, training, etc. On the other hand, it’s also important to note the differences in the types of projects, project initiation, project goals, and project management methodologies to unearth gaps that can, when filled, help with the maturity and growth of this discipline.

In this paper, without a standard classification exclusively for healthcare projects, the author tries to categorize healthcare projects along the lines of healthcare processes and settings. Like any other industry, healthcare has unique dimensions that can influence project success. With details from healthcare, the author also elaborates on aligning the healthcare projects universe to project, program, and portfolio, a concept from the project management framework. Ultimately, the author calls for a standard approach for classifying the healthcare project universe.

Key terms: healthcare industry; projects; programs; classification; benefits

Mary*: Hello, doctor. The healthcare industry overview was very insightful. I so look forward to our continued conversations on this topic. Reflecting on our discussion, I am curious about the universe of healthcare projects. How are these projects conceived, and what is their expanse?

Author: Thanks, Mary. It’s a pleasure to talk to you, and I look forward to our discussions. That’s a great question. Let’s get started.

I hope you recall our earlier discussion on the characteristics of healthcare as an industry1. Classification enables ease of information retrieval when needed. For example, healthcare information technology projects could be related to application development, maintenance, hardware installation, etc., and can be managed in one way. That allows us to plan and use a suitable management approach for the entire group or projects. Our universe is unimaginable and vast, comprising energy and matter. Along the same lines, the universe of healthcare-related projects is boundless, with various projects directly and indirectly related to healthcare. Therefore, each of us is a stakeholder and a part of projects in the healthcare industry. According to PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, a stakeholder is “an individual, group, or organization that may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project, program, or portfolio.” We are influencing the project, or the project is affecting us.


Researchers and practitioners have felt the need to establish a classification for a universe of projects (current and potential). The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines classification as a “systematic arrangement in groups or categories according to established criteria.” Classification can be identified as a meaningful clustering of experience, turning information into structured knowledge (Kwasnik 1999).

Criteria, such as similar features related to complexity, size, objectives (e.g., strategic, tactical, operational, etc.), project duration, and risks, can be used to group projects. Regardless of the type of classification, it is vital to understand the reasons for classifying projects to understand the purpose and intent of the project. Comprehension of the context or goal of the projects, creating workable frameworks for execution, visualizing gaps for new initiatives/projects, and enabling training and process documentation/education are a few benefits to the stakeholders, such as researchers, academicians, and practitioners.

Mary: This is a good overview of the reasons for classification. How are these different from the project, program, and portfolio management concepts as per established project management standards, for example, PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition.

Author: Good question. The following definitions exist according to the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition. The definitions reinforce the need for classification. Let’s look at the definitions and understand an example of each category.


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Editor’s note: This is the first in a new series of articles about project management in healthcare by Dr. Deepa Bhide, a pediatrician with additional experience in information technology and project management. Being a physician herself, she has recently experienced healthcare from a patient’s perspective while recovering from a broken ankle.  In this series, Dr. Bhide will reflect on programs, projects, and project management in various aspects of healthcare from industry, provider, and human patient perspectives. Learn more about Dr. Bhide in her author profile at the end of this article.

How to cite this paper: Bhide, D. (2023). Universe of Projects, Healthcare and Project Management, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue III, March Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/pmwj127-Mar2023-Bhide-universe-of-projects-healthcare-and-pm-series-2.pdf

About the Author

Dr. Deepa Bhide

Hyderabad, India


Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP, has over 20 years of professional experience where she has blended medical practice and research with IT and Project Management. She juggles consulting, training, and operations and is proficient in clinical medicine, project management, and healthcare information technology. Starting her career as a medical practitioner, she has worked with varied organizations before her current stint as director and clinical expert for Inventurus Knowledge Solutions.

Her passion for IT and Project Management was born from her day-to-day patient interactions. Deepa’s growing interest and work in these areas helped her view Project Management as a backbone of progressive healthcare. Her paper on “Patient Care – A Project Management Perspective” has received global recognition and acclaim. Deepa is an active contributor to PMI with her articles on a cross-domain confluence of Healthcare and Project Management. With a physician background as a solid foundation to leverage IT/PM skills and knowledge, Deepa has blended her broad-based experience and learnings to present a unified, holistic, wholesome view of Project Management and Healthcare. Through various webinars, events, talks, and writings across platforms, Deepa has been an evangelist in championing global project management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Gold medalist from Osmania University for standing First in the MBBS course and also for Human Physiology, she went ahead to pursue her DCH in Pediatrics and Child health. Deepa is an active member of their volunteer initiatives. Deepa has served a variety of roles in local and global PMI regions. The part of Council Lead for PMI’s Healthcare Community of Practice for two years (2013-15) involved identifying and mentoring volunteers and collaborating across geographies for knowledge assets. Deepa is currently a part of PMI’s Ethics Insight Team, a global team of 7 volunteers advocating PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Deepa lives in Hyderabad, India, and loves to travel, sing and experiment with global cuisine. She can be contacted at deepabhide@gmail.com.