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

The Starting Point

Following the Concept Mapping methodology described earlier, what are the most inclusive things that we know about project management? Perhaps the most fundamental is that a project represents a commitment between the project's management and its client or sponsor.

In a concept mapping exercise, a concept map emerged as shown in Exhibit 2.

Note that in this exhibit, the various relationships are attached to the corresponding linking arrows. The upper line of each relationship description represents the relationship flowing from left to right or from the top downwards. The lower line describes the relationship flowing in the opposite direction.

It should also be observed that the flow of all the relationships shown are enabled by communication, and hence communication is inherent in the total concept map.

The fundamental topics of Project Management and their relationships were described as follows:

  • Universal Practice. An overriding body of common practices has been identified as appropriate for most projects.
  • Area of Application. The dominant technology involved in the project has a major influence on how it should be managed.
  • Client Environment. This determines how projects are generated and has a major influence on how they are structured.
  • Commitment. A project represents a commitment to scope, quality, time and cost between the project's management and its client or sponsor.
  • Project Integration. A project is a short-lived arrangement of people integrated for the purpose.
  • Uncertainty. This provides both opportunity for the client and risks to the project.
  • Management Processes. These are the major project contribution and responsibility.
  • Real Time (Life Cycle). Perpetual, Sequential and Situational aspects play a major role in successful project completion.
  • Success. The ultimate objective of project management is success in all its aspects.
Exhibit 2: Concept Map of Project Management (when viewed as a
Exhibit 2: Concept Map of Project Management (when viewed as a knowledge structure)

Note that commitment to scope, quality, time and cost is the dominant theme of communication across the client/project boundary. It is worth repeating that of all of the relationship, this commitment is perhaps the most central to successful project management.

This project management concept map is developed as a PMKS outline in Appendices A and B. See Appendix A for Universal Project Management Practice, and Appendix B for Areas of Project Management Application. These appendices include several further levels of detail.

Criteria for Exclusion  Criteria for Exclusion

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