A paper presented to the Project Management Symposium on PM: Project Manager Role Evolution, Rome, Italy, 2004.

Updated 7/3/04

"PMI" and "PMBOK" are the registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute.
Published here August 2004.

PART 1 | Introduction | Areas of Project Management Application
Project-Driven and Project-Dependent Organizations
Project Life Cycle Models| Specific Life Cycle Model Examples
Project Management Planning and Control Practices, Systems, and Tools
Managing Risk in Programs and Projects | PART 3

Areas of Project Management Application

There are benefits to recognizing:

  1. That projects exist in all types of human enterprise, and
  2. That the systematic approach to project conception, selection, definition, authorization and execution embodied in modern project management principles produces superior results compared to previously used methods, are now very widely understood.

Modern project management had its genesis during and following World War II simultaneously in two industries: the facilities engineering and construction industry, and the defense/aerospace industries. We now know that this is true in the U. S., Western and Eastern Europe, including Russia and other republics in the former Soviet Union. The discipline spread slowly to other areas of application until the 1990s when it rather quickly penetrated essentially all types of industry, institutions and governmental agencies. One indicator of this rapid spread is the growth pattern in project management professional associations.

PMI, as one example, started in 1969 with about 30 members, grew in 21 years to 8,500 members in 1990 (mostly in the U. S. and Canada). In the past 13 years, PMI has grown to over 112,000 members today in 120 countries (69% of members are in the U.S., 11% in Canada, and 20% in the rest of the world.) The national member associations of IPMA have also experienced remarkable growth in their memberships in recent years. For a complete directory of project management associations around the world go to http://www.pmforum.org/warindex.htm.)

The great diversity in the areas of application is illustrated by the many specific interest groups (SIGs) within the Project Management Institute that relate to specific application areas, as shown in Table 3. Each of these SIGs brings together executives and project management practitioners that have specific interests in that area of application or business sector. It will be noted that these specific interest groups are not mutually exclusive. Additionally there are thirteen PMIŽ specific interest groups that deal with particular aspects of project management across all of these areas of application. Also, the PMIŽ College of Performance Measurement is devoted primarily to the military/aerospace area of application, and the PMI College of Scheduling focuses on that part of the project management discipline across all areas of application.

Aerospace/Defense Projects Automation Systems
Automotive Design-procurement-construction (across all economic sectors)
Dispute Management E-Business
Environmental Management (pollution remediation and prevention) Financial Services (banking, investment)
Government Healthcare Project Management
Hospitality Management (major events, such as the Olympic Games) Information Systems (software)
Information Technology and Telecommunications International Development (infrastructure, agriculture, education, health, etc., in developing countries)
Manufacturing Marketing and Sales
New Product Development Oil/Gas/Petrochemical
Pharmaceutical Retail
Service and Outsourcing (buying rather than making) Urban Development (potential SIG)
Utility industry (generation and distribution of electric power, water and gas)  
Table 3: Specific interest groups (SIGs) within PMIŽ
(That relate to specific areas of application of project management)

The top five industries represented by the PMI membership are "computers/software/data processing, information technology, telecommunications, business management, and financial services " (PMI Corporate Council Update March 2003, p 3), in spite of the fact that construction and defense/aerospace are the most mature project management areas of application.

Introduction to Part 2  Introduction to Part 2

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