Meaning of Project Management
In order to discuss fundamental principles of project management, we
need to be clear on what we mean by project management - not in terms of
the traditional definitions but in
terms of the scope and limitations of this management activity. So, for purposes
of this examination of principles, it is useful to draw a distinction between
management of the project and management of the primary technology
required to produce the product of the project. That is, a distinction between
project management and technology management. This idea of separation
is illustrated graphically in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Separation of project management from product creation
Of course, while we may draw this distinction, in the real world the two must
be fully integrated and the balance in the combination of the two varies between
different project management application areas. But with this distinction, we
see that the management of the technology obviously varies considerably according
to the type of product. However, project management on its own is relatively stable
and uniform across all types of projects. This enables the identification of a
number of common principles of project management across the majority of project
management application areas and throughout the project life span.
To emphasize that we wish to focus on the founding principles of project
management, we will use the term First Principles.
It may be asked: "Do we really need a set of First Principles of Project
Management"? The problem is that in general management, and especially in
a competitive corporate environment, understaffing is generally considered good
business practice. This is not the case with projects. On the contrary, projects
require contingency allowances to accommodate the inevitable uncertainty involved.
Consequently, the practice of under-resourcing is a recipe for failure and hence
the need to promulgate a set of generally agreed fundamentals.
So what should be included as a First Principle? The key appears to
be whether or not the principle is universally fundamental to project success.
(See additional comments under Discussion: First Principles Generally.) However,
the meaning of project success, like a number of other key terms, is debatable.
So, in order to lay a foundation for this discussion, we commence with definitions
for the leading terms used in this paper.
8. See the
Wideman Comparative Glossary of Common Project Management Terms: project management