This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright to Alan Harpham, 2005.
Published here March 2006.

Introduction | Effective Project Management
Good Practice, Not Necessarily Best
The Need: Highly Educated and Experienced Project Managers

Alan Harpham is Chairman of the APM Group, (, and director and shareholder of P5 - the Power of Projects, ( He is also a former council member of the Association for Project Management (UK), (, former managing director of Nichols Associates (now the Nichols Group and a former director of the MSc in project management at the Cranfield School of Management (now part of Cranfield University Alan may be reached at

Editor's Note: Author Alan Harpham is responding to the Max's Musings of September 2005 titled: Best Practice: The Holy Grail of Project Management, Or Fallacious Argument? You can find the Musing on this page:


The Holy Grail - the goblet that Christ used at the Last Supper - has re-arisen in modern times through Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code. We know that, despite the resurrection of the Middle Ages search for the Holy Grail, the goblet has not been found and nor is it likely that it ever will be. Dan's clever, but unlikely twist, is that the Holy Grail refers to the womb of Mary Magdalene. However, it is not particularly well founded as a theory, although it has excited modern imaginations.

So to Max's provocative question: "Is Best Practice the modern holy grail of project management?" the issue is: Does project management even have a holy grail?


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