I understand that a project is a task with a start and and end that has a specific objective. A gauge swatch is a project, a pattern test swatch is a project, a swatch to practice a stitch or a group of stitches is a PROJECT.
cacunn, unless I misread, casting on with the objective
of practicing different stitches is an open-ended project. Your definition might not allow for open-ended projects?
I too like having something that I can consider "finished" but if I need to practice a stitch pattern that I expect will be frogged repeatedly, I'm not likely to start out on what I personally in a non-technical way consider a project.
As with the right way to hold needles, which technique is right, which needles are the right ones, it's a matter of what works best for the individual.