Project vs Operation and When to Operationalize


Projects are Unique
As most people know, a Project is a temporary and unique endeavor to create a product, service, or result. It is the unique aspect that creates a good chunk of additional overhead in planning and defining the project scope and activities. Creating activities to be used just one time is also expensive. Fortunately, there are sometimes opportunities to operationalize a project. If  you have a project that is not highly complex, and you will need something similar in the future, it might be something where you can create procedures for it as part of the project. By creating a repeatable procedure, you can remove the inherent overhead associated with projects.

Operations Repeat
Production work are activities defined by repeatable procedures. The great thing about procedures is you know exactly what activities, skills, and effort is needed each time. The controls can be automated through reports and escalation tools. And, procedures are not always written down. 
It could have been learned through practice or passed down through generations. Whenever possible, you want to turn repeatable activities into procedures and automate as much as possible. Save the brain power for complex project and strategy.

From Project to Repeatable Procedures
For example, your company wants to a new product type. After the business case, you run through the entire project life cycle through delivery and create a lot of project artifacts. If  you know you might add product types in the future, you can formalize the activities into standard operating procedures. And, since you just executed the project, you have a good idea of the time, effort, and cost. Even if can't fully turn all the activities into procedures, you could potentially create a simplified Project Tier with significantly less overhead and faster time to completion.