This unpublished paper was first written in February 1996 and has since been revised several times and is now updated for web presentation.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 June 2003.

PART 1 | Project Manager's Job | The Customer | What Does the Customer Do?
Corrective Action | Structure Considerations | PART 3

The Project Manager's Job

In Part 1 I provided a background to this topic, described what projects are, and are not, and discussed the project life span. Next I want to define the job of project management.

The most dramatic and elegant presentation I have seen to date was published by Max Wideman around 1990. He displayed what he called the Project Tetrad as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: The Project Management Tetrad Trade-Off
Figure 6: The Project Management Tetrad Trade-Off

You can certainly argue whether the terminology and positioning used for the external regions, i.e. between the corners but outside the tetrad are conceptually correct for your project - perhaps even for any project. Nonetheless, I feel the presentation has a compelling and stark simplicity that, in a clear and ringing style, makes the key point:

It is the PM's job to properly position, and maintain the project within the "Scope-Quality-Time-Cost Tetrad" at a point, or series of points as the project develops a better defined scope, that results in a successful project and satisfied stakeholders.

It is worth noting that both the values assigned to the nodes of the tetrad and the position of the project within the tetrad are largely set by others, rather than those who are performing the project. That is, the project's "comfort circle" and other features are set by those external to project activities.


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