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

Conclusions — the Global Opportunity

There is a need, and hence an opportunity, to provide a more comprehensive and open structure to the project management body of knowledge. Such a structure could better enable knowledge and information exchange, a better framework for project management learning, greater clarity of a complex subject, better differentiation between general, technical and project management, and a 'more friendly' understanding of project management 'customer' needs. Confusion reigns because of differences in terminology, management approaches and success identification, so that even a more universal general terminology would greatly facilitate project management communication around the world.

Probably most of the topics displayed in Exhibit 4 are covered by existing literature. However, the chart serves to put the whole into context and, through a more structured approach, suggests areas ripe for further research. What is needed in the real and competitive world of project management is more focus on its distinct areas of application and corresponding competency. We already know that many organizations, at least in the United States accept the Project Management Institute's Project Management Professional designation as a basic knowledge level and then 'customize' the rest to suit their own requirements based on experience. How much more influential we might be if we had a basis for capturing and differentiating this experience — and making it more universally available and useful.

Clearly, some structure and delineation would be beneficial, if only to unify and advance project management understanding across global cultural interests. Would we not be more effective if we could at least agree on a more comprehensive glossary of terms including governing word sets? At the same time, I am convinced that we need to pursue a more structured approach if we are to break out of the simplistic generic mode and get serious about professionalism, professional qualifications and meaningful competence. We simply must be more resolute over service to the general public, employer acceptance, professional differentiation and recognition of highly qualified and experienced project management practitioners in their respective Areas of Project Management Application.

But perhaps most important of all, by establishing some form of flexible structure we can better facilitate continuous learning and ensure knowledge continuity well into the future.

Therefore, I hope that this paper will generate much further discussion on this topic.

June, 1999.


Batten, J. D. 1989. (Adapted from) Tough-minded Leadership. AMACOM, NY: 36.

Duncan, W. R. 1996. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and Glossary of Terms. Standards Committee. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Duncan, W. R. 1998. In an Email dated 3/31/98 to public forum pmilist@list.4.com.

Ross, R. 1994. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Doubleday, NY. 242.

Shenhar, A. J., R. M. Wideman, Toward a Fundamental Differentiation between Projects, PICMET '97 Conference Proceedings (CD-ROM), Management of Engineering and Technology Dept., Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 1997

Wideman, R. M. 1991. A Framework for Project and Program Management Integration. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute: III-1.

Wideman, R. M. 1997. A Project Management Knowledge Structure for the Next Century. Project Management Institute 1997 Seminar & Symposium Proceedings: 1006-1011

Further Opportunities Further Opportunities

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