This unpublished paper was first written in February 1996 and has since been revised several times and is now updated for web presentation.

Note: The Project Management Institute, USA, has adopted the acronyms "PMI", "PMBOK", "PMP" as their registered marks.
Published here July 2003.

PART 2 | A Proposal - Introduction | How a PMrBoK might be Defined and Used
On the Content of Plane C | Thoughts on Language, Content and Referencing
 Final Thoughts

On the Content of Plane C

The content of this plane requires input from many key project players having both technological and project management performance responsibilities, especially for those activities affected by either a technical or general management BOK. Since most proposed PMrBoKs contain no product technical or technological knowledge entries, yet nevertheless always exist on any project; such entries need a "home". Potential "political" considerations may also need a home. Plane C is the place for this content. It may also be the home for supplementary material specific to a particular project that enlarges on Plane B PMrBoK content, i.e. the plane for the product delivery system and its execution.

The need for extracting and incorporating elements of other BOKs having plane C attributes is often not knowable at the outset and requires vigilance and inquiry on the part of the project manager. I suggest that this identification or unearthing process and subsequent inclusion represents a major portion of the integration efforts of the PM. Moreover, it is imperative that the PM spends sufficient time on this integrating function if the project is to be well run and efficient. Indeed, managing the contents of this plane C is often the most difficult part of a PM's job if the project is to be judged successful. This effort is most intense in the conceptual stages(s) but often continues sporadically in the execution stage. A review for adequacy for future stages can be profitably performed as the conceptual stage(s) and the project effort turns to execution.

This challenge is further heightened by the fact that specific content from the general management, technical or other BOKs varies according to a number of factors such as

  • The nature, industry or sector of the project
  • The specific product of the project
  • The several phases and particularly the current phase of the project
  • The execution strategy or plan selected for the project or phase
  • The project location(s), and
  • The characteristics of resources both needed and available

The collection, selection and insertion of this wide ranging and variable content, constituting the IMr or SMrBoK I talked about in Part 1 of this paper, is usually an on-going process which needs review as the project progresses through its life span. A peculiar feature of this plane is that

  1. Although largely project inherent rather than project management inherent, materials placed here are generally useful as a "starter set" or checklist to initiate the extraction processes from the other BoKs
  2. Responsibility for content selection, definition, extraction and control can be assigned to other than the project manager as part of the project's scope of work
  3. The content is indicative and not prescriptive and may consist of several subsets based on the industry or sector, and
  4. The needs are often only identified, initiated or generated as a result of the then current project scope.

Clearly the content of Plane C is project specific, therefore I expect the
content(s) generated and supported by professional organizations to be quite minimal, generalized and for guidance only. I have tried to capture the essence of all of this in Table 1 below.

Table 1
Table 1


  1. Limited to the selected PMrBoK such as the PMI-PMBOK document
  2. Given and guided by the selected PMrBoK document such as the PMI-PMBOK document
  3. Almost fully project defined and uses multiple extracts to elaborate on planes A and B to generate a full project technical discipline plane
  4. Execution strategy sensitive similar to c above
  5. Project specific, similar to c above

These interactions are graphically portrayed in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Relationships between PMrBoKs
Figure 7: Relationships between PMrBoKs

Based on the above concepts, I have made a "first pass" at a set of comprehensive and supportable content. This is set out in an outline structure complete with a reference number system for purposes of discussion. For anyone who is interested in furthering these ideas, I shall be pleased to send them a copy.

How a PMrBoK might be Defined and Used  How a PMrBoK might be Defined and Used

Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page