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


In this paper we have provided background and rational basis for using concept mapping methodology to develop a project management knowledge structure (PMKS). We have shown how concept mapping rules can be used to develop an orderly arrangement and touch on software that can help in the process. We have also shown how it would consist of an orderly arrangement of project management knowledge descriptors (PMKDs) which could greatly facilitate research, learning and the practice of project management. While the graphic representation of the PMKS is more useful in conveying a mental image, it can, nevertheless, be represented by an outline structure.

We have proposed goals and objectives for the structure, the assumptions we have used, and suggest criteria for content that should be either included and excluded. Finally, we have attempted to identify the overarching concepts that encompass project management as the basis of our specific structure. From these ground rules we have laid out a concept map of project management, and developed the first few levels of the structure as a trial. This structure reflects a first level division between Universal PMKDs of relevance to most projects and those relevant to specific Areas of Project Management Application (APMA). Universal is then subdivided into seven major entities, while APMA is subdivided into four classes of product effort that distinguish the ways in which such projects should be managed.

We hope that this paper will engender considerable discussion and progress on the vital issues of scope, storage and efficient retrieval of project management knowledge. Hopefully, it will also attract the participation and contribution of representatives from other interested countries.

R. Max Wideman

   Starting Point

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