Descriptor Criteria: Exclusion, Inclusion and Placement
We struggled considerably with the issue of project management descriptor (PMD)
criteria for the mapping exercise. It would be nice if every PMD slipped neatly
into one and only one place. However, the reality is that knowledge domains
are not necessarily hierarchical as such, and may even contain sub hierarchies,
possibly based on modified criteria. Thus, assembling a tree structure, with
which we, in project management are so familiar, forces arbitrary choices which
gives rise to the possibility that other users will not know where to find things
or even what to look for. This creates the need for flexibility, and as a result
we arrived at the following preliminary PMD placement criteria:
- Is the Descriptor commonly used, or is it required to describe attributes
of other project management descriptors, in program or project management
or any one of the Areas of Project Management Application (APMA)?
For example: (Project) 'Cost Accounting' is commonly used, and is therefore
included as a 'Project Management Descriptor' (PMD), but 'Financial Accounting'
is not and is not included, though elements of financial accounting theory
may be included to give meaning to project cost accounting.
- Conversely, do not include the descriptor if it is primarily used in General
Management or Technical Management (i.e. the management of the technical work
of the project's product.)
For example: 'Financial Auditing' belongs to General Management, 'Material
Hoisting' belongs to Construction, and 'Prototyping' belongs to technology
Note, however, that in the real world of project management, general, project
and technical management activities must all be closely integrated through
the course of the project.
- Is the Descriptor commonly used in most APMAs? If so, include it in the
upper (generic) levels, otherwise include it within an APMA.
For example: 'work breakdown structure' is a common technique, but
'Scheduling Prototypes' is not and belongs within an APMA (Information Technology.)
- What are the primary attributes of the PMD, and hence where is its best
fit? This is a judgement call and there may not be a unique location.
For example: 'Earned Value' is a PMD that is closely allied to 'Cost',
Schedule' and 'Progress Reporting'. The solution is to enter it at the first
level encountered and create hyperlinks from other locations.
- Is the PMD capable of further breakdown or is it an 'end-item'? If no further
breakdown is apparent, seek to place it at the lowest level of a branch, otherwise
place it where it appears to have the most affinity.
For example: 'Bar Chart', 'Resource Histogram' and 'Network Diagram'
appear to be end-items, whereas 'Scheduling' might be followed by 'Activity
Duration', 'Critical Activity', 'Dummy Activity', 'Float', etc.