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

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 management.

    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.
Concept Map Update  Concept Map Update

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