David H. Curling,
B.Eng (Mech), P.Eng, p.t.s.c., Certificated Project Manager,
Fellow APM, Fellow PMI, CD

Editor's Footnote-
Unfortunately, the "PMI Canada" that David speaks of in his presentation is now defunct.
Published here October 2002.

Editor's Preface | The Context | On Globalization | Project Management Standards
The Project Management Profession | The True Profession
Project Management Certification | Project Management Organizations Initiatives
National Initiatives | Global Union | Dispatch From the Future

Project Management Standards

Industry and government are faced with a number of project management standards. Some of these are:

  • International Organization for Standards (ISO)
  • Association for Project Management Project Management Body of Knowledge (APM BoK)
  • Project Management Institute Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (GPMBOK)
  • Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEI CMM)
  • US Department of Defense Earned Value Management System (EVMS)
  • Canadian Government Cost/Schedule Performance Management Standard (C/SPMS)
  • CCTA Projects in a Controlled Environment (PRINCE)

Each standard is applied to particular national and international project management undertakings. A rationalization of these management standards is needed if they are to be used in a coherent and coordinated fashion.[2]

The PMI Global Standards Committee has been reviewing these standards in an attempt to bring coherence to the project management scene. The activity and governance of this PMI working group is posted to the PMI Web Site.[3]

We can look to a global network of Universities for research on project management academic and competency requirements. The International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) is a collegial association of academic institutions that meets each year to consider project management research.

Work is in hand to develop the PMI GPMBOK in a number of directions and to include project management principles. Other project management standards being considered are:

  • Competency Standards
  • A Maturity Model
  • GPMBOK Extensions
  • Corporate Practice Standards.

The next revision of the Association for Project Management Body of Knowledge (APM BoK) has started. The APM BoK is five years old and requires a review of its contents. This work is to be carried out by Professor Peter Morris and the Centre for Research in Project Management Team of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

This parallel development of Bodies of Knowledge (BOK's) is a valuable prospect for the international project management community. Both the APM and PMI BOK's are useful and for different purposes. The APM BOK, with its levels of experience profiles, is a corporate or personal competency check list. The APM BoK identifies 40 key competencies for project management.

The PMI GPMBOK is a guide to the learning of generally accepted project management practices. A training industry has grown up to explain the GPMBOK and each of the eight generally accepted practices, described as knowledge areas.

A 1995 Special Issue of the International Journal of Project Management provided particular viewpoints on the Project Management Bodies of Knowledge. As the Editor of that Special Issue I wrote: "A project management practitioner of the 1990's cannot ignore the evolving project management standards of knowledge. Such standards affect accreditation as a professional, and impact on all project management undertakings ...".[4]

Theo Clarke of the Chicago Global Project Management Forum, wrote in the Association for Project Management's February, 1998, issue of Project magazine: "There was a clear consensus that global standards are a precursor to global certification and that there is a need for a global accreditation body which identifies equivalence".

However, national interests will make it unlikely that an International Project Management Body of Knowledge (IPMBOK) will be accepted. I see national organizations continuing to develop particular standards, call them BOK or whatever, that can be used as a basis for national project management certification.

On Globalization  On Globalization

2. Project Management Standards Web Sites http://www.pmforum.org/prof/standard.htm
3. Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge http://www.pmi.org/
4. Special Issue on the PMBOK - International Journal of Project Management, 1995
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