Project inputs and outputs

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A project involves the transformation of inputs into an output or product. For example, people's mental and physical efforts, bricks and mortar, equipment or materials might be transformed into a new road, a municipal park or an advertising campaign. Or perhaps transformed into a stream of outputs or products, for example, attendances at a conference or exhibition, state school places or data from a new in-house costing system.

The output or outputs might be used within the organisation (for example, a credit sales and debtors collection system) or it might be used by the general public (for example, a road might be used by pedestrians and motorists). The output might be sold as a one-off immediately after the project is complete (for example, a new hotel building) or used to gain income at some time in the future (by operating the hotel and accommodating guests).

The input-output questions run along the lines of:

  • what resources will we require and what will they cost the organisation?
  • what products will be produced, in what quantity and of what quality?

Other questions depend on the type of organisation:

  • For what prices can our for-profit organisation sell these products and how much revenue will they generate?
  • How much must our non-profit organisation charge users for these products if these charges are to cover resource costs?
  • In producing these products, how much economic, political and/or social value will our governmental organisation confer on their direct beneficiaries, and on other citizens and other taxpayers generally; and by doing so, what private costs will our governmental organisation impose on citizens and other taxpayers?
  • What cost savings will accrue to our organisation from these products or what fines/penalties will our organisation avoid by producing these products?

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