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

Project-Driven and Project-Dependent Organizations

Two broad classes of organizations can be identified. First, examples of those project-driven organizations whose primary business is in fact made up of projects include:

  • Architect/engineer/constructor, general contractor, and specialty contractor firms
  • Software development firms who sell their products or services on a contract basis
  • Telecommunications systems suppliers consultants and other professional services firms and
  • Other organizations that bid for work on a project-by-project basis.

Growth strategies in such organizations are reflected in the type, size, location and nature of the projects selected for bidding, as well as the choices made in how the required resources will be provided (in-house or out-sourced) to carry out the projects, if and when a contract is awarded or the project is otherwise approved for execution. NASA is a project-driven organization, for example, and its executives have stated that their entire annual budget is based on projects.

The second class of organizations - those that are project-dependent for growth - includes all others that provide goods and services, and not primarily projects, as their mainstream business. Projects within these organizations are primarily internally sponsored and funded. Examples include manufacturing (consumer products, pharmaceuticals, engineered products, etc.), banking and financial services, transportation, communications, governmental agencies, computer hardware and software developers and suppliers, universities, hospitals, and other institutions, among others.

These organizations depend on projects to support their primary lines of business, but projects are not their principle offering to the marketplace. Many of these sponsors of internally funded projects are important buyers of projects from project-driven organizations.

Examination of the project categories listed in Table 1 and the PMI SIGs listed in Table 3 gives a fairly complete picture of the breadth of the current areas of application of modern project management. Specific new application areas will continue to emerge, including, for example:

  • Military operations,
  • Recovery from natural (earthquakes, floods, fires, famines, medical epidemics) and
  • Man-made (wars, terrorist acts) disasters, and
  • The trillion dollars per year worldwide industry to restore the natural and built environment (Foti, PMNetwork October 2003, pp 28-34).

These and other areas of project management application will no doubt require defining additional project categories and sub-categories to those previously listed in Table 1.

Areas of Project Management Application  Areas of Project Management Application

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