Where do APMAs fit in the Concept Map Structure?
Most experienced project people recognize the 'fractal' nature of project
management. Like the shell of the common snail, the cross section is similar
wherever you section it ø it is just a question of scale. This is reflected
in a number of project management 'hierarchical word sets' such as:
- The knowledge hierarchy: Profession -> discipline -> function -> process ->
tools and techniques
- The project road map (answers what?): Vision -> mission -> goals -> objectives
-> action plans -> performance standards (Batten 1989)
- The approach (how?): Philosophy -> organization -> strategy -> tactics -> activity
Perhaps the most obvious is the breakdown of the project life cycle (PLC).
The PLC can be progressively decomposed from:
- Abstract Project Principle: "Plan your work, work your plan" (i.e. first
establish a period of planning followed by a period of doing) subdivided down
through phases to stages to activities to tasks.
Each level can be 'project managed' using the same basic principles, indeed,
each can be considered a project in its own right, depending on the size of
the overall endeavor. The difference is simply in scale and terminology. However,
from the perspective of universal practice, probably only the first two levels
are common to most projects. Stages are typically APMA specific (witness the
variety of PLCs described in the Project Management Institute's Guide to the
Project Management Body of Knowledge), while activities and tasks are very project
specific (Wideman 1991). What changes here is the level of detail, the focus,
the personal goals, the consequent conflicts, and resulting levels of stress.
From this it will be seen that while APMAs determine the nature of programs
and projects (Concept Map Level 1) the knowledge
content of each specific APMA is probably realized at, say, level 3 (as
represented by the attributes shown on the Concept
Map Level 2)
Another way of looking at it, if we make 'Project' as our top level for a moment,
then universal project management knowledge is probably limited even at this
level and that APMA-specific knowledge is necessary, or at least the way it
is presented, for reasons described later.