Title:  Project Management Knowledge as a Basis for Global Communication. Learning and Professionalism


Introduction | Background | Why Care? | Progress | Differentiation | Update
Descriptor Criteria | Where do APMAs fit? | Missing Opportunities
Development | Validation | Further Opportunities | Conclusions


Last year this author reviewed some historic attempts to structure knowledge in general, and the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge in particular, by means of various models (Wideman 1997). However, concept mapping is becoming increasingly popular with researchers and educationalists as a way of capturing a knowledge area. Typically in a brainstorming wallboard type session, the approach forces discovery of basic conceptual units and their relationships.

Concept maps are graphic displays of knowledge topics in a node-link structure. The nodes represent concepts, entities or things that are described by labels with a set of attributes. The links show both the connections between nodes and the nature of the relationship. A big advantage of the concept map is that it provides a visual image making it easier to study the components and their relationships. However, the particular view of the given structure must be stated explicitly because intellectual' structures can be seen from many perspectives.

The author's 1997 paper describes the steps to creating a concept map, the view of project management selected, criteria for inclusion or exclusion of 'node labels' and the resulting findings presented as the first few levels of a more familiar breakdown structure. This framework is referred to as a Project Management Knowledge Structure (PMKS) and the node labels as Project Management Descriptors (PMDs). The objectives of the framework are worth reemphasizing. The PMKS must be:

  1. Explicitly and operationally defined as to structure, variables and relationships
  2. Obviously valid and intuitive to all project stakeholders
  3. Generally applicable throughout the project environment in a way that accounts for the complexity and dynamics of the project process ...
  4. Validated empirically in the real project world
  5. Simple, logical, understandable and flexible, yet comprehensive within practical limits of number of hierarchical levels
  6. Built on existing project management understanding generally
  7. Expressed in familiar terms and phrases that facilitate both electronic and non-electronic retrieval of project management relevant information.
  8. Responsive to hierarchies, word sets, and cross-links, that apply to more than one branch of the structure
  9. Independent of any proprietary view of project management
  10. And, last but not least, beneficial to its users.

The view selected for this PMKS was based on the premise that:

A commitment, in terms of scope, quality, time and cost, exists between the project group, responsible for integration of objectives, teamwork, communication and effort, and the client or sponsor, responsible for the vision, general direction, resources and project financing.

The reason for this perspective was that this appears to be the primary duty of project management.

Introduction  Introduction

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