A Project Management Knowledge Structure for the 21st Century

(Revision 11, 10-06-98)
The original version of this paper was presented at the Project Management Institute's 28th Annual Seminar & Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, September 29, 1997.

[Editor's note: This paper generated useful exchanges and helped pave the way for global discussion of project management knowledge.]

Published here, November 2000

Introduction | Endeavour | What Basis | Models | Concept Mapping
Theme | Objectives | Assumptions | Exclusion | Starting Point | Conclusions
Appendix A
| Appendix B


This paper is a 'discussion' paper rather than a 'solution' paper and describes the possibilities for a structured arrangement of the elements of a body of knowledge for project management. The purpose of such a structured arrangement would be to provide the basis for a more systematic discussion of project management issues. Such issues include the impact on project management practice as a professional discipline in various parts of the world and on different types of project by virtue of the diversity of their cultural norms and values.

Clearly, any proposed knowledge structure must be responsive to the working realities of project management practitioners. So, to capture the types of issues involved, and to do it in an organized way, we needed a checklist as a reference baseline. This checklist must not only cover 'theoretical or generic' project management but also the various practical areas of project management application (APMA).

Only then can a systematic development be conducted and assembled into a logical grouping of elements. These elements of knowledge will initially be represented by a list of discrete project management terms which can then be assembled into a proposed structure. We will refer to this as a 'Project Management Knowledge Structure' (PMKS), and the terms it contains we can refer to as Project Management Knowledge Descriptors (PMKDs).


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