I have always thought of projects as having a set beginning and end. However, I recently came across a a book by James Carse titled Finite And Infinite Games. Intrigued, I read several articles on the concept of finite vs infinite games. The 'games' being a metaphor for projects or goals. The premise is that when you are playing a finite game, there are set rules that define when the game begins and how it ends. The purpose of a finite game is to end it. When you reach the end as defined by the rules, the game is over.
An infinite game is played so that it never has to end, the rules are fluid and it's ok to adjust them over time. You don't try to win an infinite game, you just want to keep playing it.
You can play multiple 'games' at a time. You can play a finite game within another finite game or within an infinite game, but you cannot play an infinite game within a finite game. I've changed my view on projects because of this. Now I believe that you can and should have infinite projects.
The Japanese concept of Kaizen (Continous improvement) is an example of infinite project thinking. You keep trying to improve and innovate, your never done since you can always find something to improve. Here is an example:
**Home Garden - Infinite Project
- Create Garden Bed On Side Of Garage - Finite Project
- Plant Perennials By House Foundation - Finite Project
- Add Raised Beds To The Existing Vegetable Garden - Finite Project
- ...... I could keep adding finite projects indefinitely because I enjoy gardening and can always come up with ways to improve or change it.
The Home Garden Infinite Project can go on until I want it to end. Maybe I will lose interest in gardening in the future, or move to an apartment and no longer be able to have a garden. At this point in time I do not have any plans for that, so gardening is an infinite project until I say it isn't.