The original version of this paper was presented at the Project Management Institute's 28th Annual Seminar & Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, September 29, 1997. It was subsequently updated and reproduced on this web site in November 2000.

Republished here April 2023.

Introduction | We are Not Alone | What Basis? | Models | Concept Mapping
PMKS Theme | Objectives | Assumptions | Exclusion | Starting Point | Conclusions
Appendix A | Appendix B

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"[4]. 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.

  This Endeavour

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).

Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page