But On What Basis?
The most obvious place to turn, library science, turns out to be of almost
no help. Even librarians admit that the schemes used to day are antiquated and
inadequate. The most common systems in the US, the Dewey Decimal System, and
Library of Congress Classification, were developed during the close of the 19th
century. Unsurprisingly, they are poor at classifying "newly" established fields
such as project management. If you want confirmation, just check out project
management as a subject area!
Moreover, while a physical book or document can be shelved in only one place,
a digital document can be placed in several categories at the cost of only a
few bytes. The field of information retrieval, which focuses on automated techniques
like keyword indexing for searching large databases, isn't much more encouraging.
The reason is simple. If humans have a hard time figuring out some system, trying
to get a computer to do it is nearly impossible.
There are still other issues. For example, what should be included? Presumably,
specific management practices relating to the primary production work effort
of particular areas of project management application. For example, presumably
information technology, software development, or construction, each with its
own particular regulatory requirements or legal restraints, techniques and vocabulary,
should be included. A basis for distinguishing between APMA groupings, by the
way, has been described in a recent paper "Toward a Fundamental Differentiation
between Projects". How much knowledge
contained in related general management professions such as financial management,
accounting, ethics and law, should be included or excluded? How should the information
be presented and in what order?
We need guidance.
4. Shenhar, A. J., R. M. Wideman,
Toward a Fundamental Differentiation between Projects, PICMET, Portland, WA,
1997, p391 (for full text, see CD-ROM version).