The Guide, Chapter 1 - General Scope of Project Management
1.5 Areas of Expertise
The Guide indicates that a project management team requires understanding of at least the following five areas to be effective:
- The Guide itself
- Application area of knowledge, standards and regulations
- Understanding the project environment
- General management knowledge and skills
- Interpersonal skills
The Guide states that all of these overlap to a certain extent in a project. The text and diagram that it offers shows that some of the knowledge of all five areas may come from outside The Guide. For example, although The Guide includes Project Human Resource Management in its framework, it identifies that a portion of interpersonal skills is outside the method. PRINCE2 has a similar view. Although The Guide shows an overlap between its coverage and general management knowledge, training, experience and skills, the list shows very little that is contained within The Guide. Rather, these are limited to some specifics in organization structure and procurement.
1.5.1 The Project Management Body of Knowledge
The Guide assembles its chapters into a higher level PMBOK structure, as follows:
- Definition of the Project Life Cycle (Chapter 2)
- Five Project Management Process Groups (Chapter 3)
- The nine Knowledge Areas (Chapters 4-12)
1.6 Project Management Context
According to The Guide the project management context includes program management, portfolio management and a Project Management Office (PMO). An explanation and several examples of each are provided. PRINCE2 excludes any mention of the first two, concentrating as it does on project management and merely stating where the interfaces with program management occur. The PMO is not a concept entertained by PRINCE2. However, a number of PRINCE2 users - such as the London Stock Exchange - use Project Support Offices (PSO) where expertise in the PRINCE2 method is concentrated. PSOs provide guidance to all projects within the company, maintain the company's project management standards and provide training.
The Guide's PMO goes far beyond the PRINCE2 concept of a Project Support Office (PSO), with a great deal of emphasis on management, coordination and control. The description suggests that it might:
- Play a role coordinating several projects within a program; and
- Provide centralized services to a number of projects, such as software and training
Both of these suggest a similarity with PRINCE2's concept of a PSO, but The Guide then goes on to suggest that the PMO might:
- Have direct management and responsibility for achieving a project's objectives;
- Act as an integral stakeholder and key decision-maker during the initiation stage of each project;
- Have the authority to make recommendations or even terminate projects to keep the business objectives consistent
Most of this suggests that the work of the PMO is outside the scope of projects and PRINCE2 and into a much higher level of management and responsibility. The second bullet in the list above could even be the responsibility of a senior manager on the PRINCE2 Project Board. The third bullet could also apply to a PRINCE2 Project Board member to some extent. However, PRINCE2 puts any decision to terminate a project firmly in the hands of the Project Board's Executive and team.
The Guide's concept of the PMO seems to be a combination of Program Coordination, PSO and a managerial level on the lines of the independent reviewers at a "gate review" or "end stage assessment".
8. Ibid, pp 242-243,
9. The Guide, pp17-18, 26, 32-33, 349 & 368