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

The original version of this paper was presented to the Global Project Management Forum at the Project Management Institute's 29th Annual Seminar & Symposium, Long Beach, California, October 11, 1998.

Paper last updated:
June 15, 1999

Pulished here November 2000

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


"We live in a world of self-generating beliefs which remain largely untested. We adopt those beliefs because they are based on conclusions, which are inferred from what we observe, plus our past experience. Our ability to achieve the results we truly desire is eroded by our feelings that: our beliefs are the truth; the truth is obvious; our beliefs are based on real data; and the data we select are real data." (Ross 1994)

Since 1995, we have witnessed four Global Project Management Forums (GPMF) which have been conducted with heightening interest and success. Undoubtedly, this is a reflection of the increasing recognition of the 'globalization' of the market place and the competition that it brings. Project management is no exception. However, if we are to advance towards a 'Global Profession' as some suggest, then we need a vehicle for effective communication and a common understanding of the content and structure of the field.

Communication was clearly on the minds of the GPMF when they put forward the objectives that state in part:

  • To provide leaders of the project management profession around the world with the opportunity to ... share information and to discuss issues ...
  • To advance globalization of the project management profession, by promoting communication ... around the world
  • To provide educational opportunities for participants to learn ...
  • To advance the project management profession technically, and in more geographic areas, industries and organizations, on a global basis.

But how can we achieve these laudable objectives without some collective and common understanding of the dimensions and content of the project management profession and a vehicle for communication? True, there is no shortage of books, articles, videos, and CD-ROMS on project management, projects, and 'how-to-do-it'. Yet there are still areas we have barely begun to tap such as better project portfolio selection, program management, and beneficial product transfer with collective focus on supporting corporate policy rather than individual and competing project goals.

How does this all knit together into a comprehensive whole? Since project management is clearly pervasive and complex, do we not need some semblance of structure to facilitate learning? This paper attempts to address that issue.


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