Published here April 2016

Preface | Executive Summary | Introduction | Expansion of the Term Project Management
The Project Management Timeframe | Project Risk and Success | Conclusion

The Project Management Timeframe

One thing, perhaps the only thing of significance, that distinguishes a project, from corporate "Business-As-Usual" (BAU) is that a project has a beginning at some time and certainly has an ending, with a lot of work in between. The time spanning between the start of the project and its completion is the project's life span.[7] This life span is linear and progressive simply because elapsed time cannot be repeated. You can, however, repeat what you do by consuming more time. That's not a time cycle, that's a repetition of activity.

So the issue now is: What activity?

Section 3.10 of ISO 21500, quoted at the beginning of this paper, is quite explicit about what to expect in the realm of managing a project — any project. In other words, these expectations apply to all projects as described in ISO 21500.[8]

But clearly that's not the whole story. What about the "deliverables" referred to in the penultimate paragraph of ISO 21500, Section 3.10 quoted earlier? That says:[9]

"By the end of the last phase, the project should have provided all deliverables" (Emphasis added.)

What we know from practical experience are several key considerations such as:

  1. The work involved in creating the "deliverables",[10] including any necessary intermediate deliverables[11] is the essential part of the project and typically the largest part and the most challenging.
  2. This work of creating the deliverables varies widely in content according to the "Area of Application" of the project in question.
  3. The potential "Areas of Application" are many and various, amounting to many hundreds, if not thousands.
  4. Each Area of Application calls for a wide variety of skills, skills that must be applied in some optimum sequence to be effective and efficient in producing the required product.
  5. The application of this "optimum sequence" is increasingly referred to as the "Methodology"[12] most suited to the creation of the required product.
  6. Moreover, depending on the group of skills[13] involved, different approaches to managing the work are required.

The "considerations" described above make it clear that in the course of any project we have two main sets of "management" to contend with. The first set is the management of the project and its particular set of success criteria.[14] The second set is the management of the creation of the desired product and its success in terms of potential for benefit creation and the satisfaction of the "customer".

In practice, the design of the "Project Life Span" most suited for corporate control purposes is not the same as the "Methodology" for creating the required product to customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the two must work in tandem, with the Product Methodology sequence filling in the gaps in the sequence of Project Life Span control.[15]

Expansion of the Term Project Management  Expansion of the Term Project Management

7. The Project Life Span is labeled in much literature as the "Project Life Cycle". This label is illogical because time is not repeatable.
8. Or, in the words of PMI's PMBOK Guide, "to most projects most of the time."
9. ISO_21500_2012_E-Character_PDF_document.pdf, Section 3.10, p8 (last paragraph but one).
10. Deliverables may also be referred to as "products" or "outcomes" or similar, the production of which are the whole purpose of the project in the first place.
11. Often referred to as "Enabling products" or "Enablers".
12. As author Patrick Hankinson suggests in his paper there are more than 20 such "Methodologies" — See "Choosing the right method"
13. These skills may vary from "brawn to brain work" with the output varying from Tangible to Intangible. These characterizations only scratch the surface of these study areas of Stakeholder Management.
14. That is, On Time, Within Budget, and To Specification and Customer Satisfaction (or words to that effect).
15. That is to say: Congruent with the Phases in the Project Life Span.
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page