Project management, as a system, has a strong foundation in systems theory that may be defined as "a framework by which one can analyze and/or describe any group of objects that work in concert to produce some result". The PMBOK® Guide structure, including its detailed output/input characteristic, has the potential to develop and apply process relationships in an organized way to produce an intended result.
One may ask, why is a more detailed structure of the project management system needed? If the system is intended to be useful for all project team members and project stakeholders, then its structure must be sufficiently detailed and specific to satisfy its use at an operational level. In this way, the system can then function in an integrated and controllable procedure from top down planning to bottom up verification, where it can be analyzed and restructured according to the opportunities available.
For example, if we can generate sequences similar to that illustrated in Figure 3 for other project management systems, then it is possible to draw a measurable comparison between them and make a preferred selection for the development of the project management plan. This can then lead to the point where inputs and outputs can be related directly to a user's factual project documentation, procedures and forms as used in their current practice. That is why we foresee that more project management systems will follow this trend and expand on the content at the input and output level.
Although the PMBOK® Guide covers most aspects of the project management system, there are other aspects that could be covered following better analysis of the Guide's output/input characteristic. For example, there should be the development of consistent relations between processes, and possibly the combination of some existing processes, the restructuring of other processes, and the development of new processes. It is entirely possible that a better understanding of the details and that more insistence on the consistency of the system structure will be the hallmark of future project management systems, including the PMBOK® Guide.
- Process input or process output.
- Context of a component:
- A set of relationships between a component of a process and components of other processes defined in PMBOK® Guide.
- Factual project documentation:
- A project related documentation, recognized by the project team and routinely used in a specific project, or organization.
- Input set:
- All inputs within a process.
- Output/Input relationships:
- If an output from one process is an input into another process, then the preceding process and succeeding process are related by this interfacing output/input.
- Output set:
- All outputs within a process.
- Process iterated loop:
- A series of related outputs/inputs that advance a procedure of project management from one stage of completion to another by repeatedly passing it through planning processes, executing processes and controlling processes until the completion of the project scope.
- Relationships of component:
- The condition that controls how an input or output is related to its predecessors or successors.
- Invalid process loop:
- A feedback relation between components within unique iteration.
96. Wikipedia, System theory, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_theory), accessed 1/29/09.