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Project Management is a profession!

No,  it is not!

The PMBOK Guide is the best practice!

No,  it is not!

The PMI Methodology!

PMI does not have a methodology!

PRINCE2 is more popular than PMP!

Maybe, or maybe not!

The PMP is the best certification in project management!

Maybe, or maybe not!

IPMA Level C certification is highly valuable!

Maybe, or maybe not!

ISO is the newest project management standard!

Yes,  but so what does that mean!

OK – what is this introduction? What are we trying to say?

I was triggered to write this post after participating in a discussion on LinkedIn; “What do you think about the ISO standard on PM? Is there a need for a standard that “unifies” the different PM languages?” This discussion started by Mr. Jean Binder and is drawing a riveting discussion.

In this post, I will try to look at the project management global landscape from a different perspective.

Professional Associations

I hope I do not insult anyone by excluding them here.

The following are the few leading organizations with a focus on project and program management, as a general topic; not specific to a project management topic. Not all of them offer certifications.

  • The Project Management Institute (PMI) – offering a few certifications, most famous is the PMP
  • The International Project Management Association (IPMA) – offering four certifications at different levels
  • The APM Group (APMG) – offering PRINC2 and others
  • The Project Management Association Japan – not sure if they have any certifications
  • The Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (no certification)

There are other country associations, such as APM – UK, ASAPM – USA, PMSA – South Africa, etc.

There are also associations focusing on PM functions, such as AACE International (Cost and Schedule …), SAVE International (Value Engineering), and many others. Please refer to our website for various links to these associations.

Which association is better?

I think it is here where the problem – challenge – that is not helping to sustain and grow the proper practice of project management. We know that this is not a totally correct statement but the intention is to provoke and discuss. There is no question in my mind that PMI, IPMA, GAPPS, SAVE … and all the others are helping in promoting project management but each with an understandable bias toward what they offer. What they offer is good but not good enough on its own … if … and only if … we want to excel in growing the proper practices of project management that would enable effective management of projects and program.

I might like IPMA over PMI or PMI over APM Group, or GAPPS over all of them – but most practitioners do not know these organizations exist. They typically only know one, maybe two associations.

  • PMI, with its powerful marketing, dominates but is it the best?
  • IPMA is older but is it the best?
  • GAPPS offer standards on Creative Commons basis (free) but are they good, especially with no certification?

I can go on … but as someone who has been around project management for close to 30 years and I am lost – how about those who want to come into project management and do not have a clue where to go?

A crowded project management landscape

Is there a solution in this crowded landscape?

On the LinkedIn discussion, some are discussing creating a new framework. Others are proposing a new standard. Some are saying we already have too many standards. So what to do?

First, I think we do not need more standards – what we need is a map. Hopefully, not similar to the Tokyo, Paris, or London undergrounds; or even worse – a spaghetti bowl.

So what do we need this map to include?

Let us consider the following specializations:

  • PMI’s PMBOK core focus is on project management processes
  • IPMA’s core focus is on IPMA Competence Baseline
  • APM Group (PRINCE2 offer a method)
  • GAPPS focuses on the “person” with a project manager / program manager standards
  • AACE focuses on earned value, cost, planning
  • CII focuses on best practices in the construction industry
  • I know my online friend Dr. Paul like INCOSE
  • There is Green Project Management
  • There is the Scrum Alliance
  • There is the Adaptive Project Framework
  • SUKAD has CAM2P™ and 7Es™ (not famous yet but will be -:))

I apologize if I made a mistake in some of what I listed above since – as I said – I am lost in this landscape.

Once again what to do?

A project management map

Can we develop the map that I mentioned earlier? We need a map that considers the following:

  • Project Management – from all angles (360)
  • Project Management that is NOT one size fits all (Jack of all trades and master of none!)
  • Project Management that considers project size and complexity
  • Project Management that consider competency and competence framework of project managers, program managers, and team members
  • Project management that offer a customizable and adaptable methodological approach, which what SUKAD offers
  • Project management that considers processes and functions, which includes the generic processes and the special processes for various projects’ domains (application areas)
  • Project Management that includes a focus on areas of specializations (cost, time, risk, safety, sustainability, quality …
  • Project Management that is suitable for various level of project managers; those who are accidental and those who are professionals.

This is a tough task – but is it?

If we do not make revenues and certification as a top priority; rather focus on sustaining and growing the practice of project management across all domains, organizations, and interest; the map would be a feasible task. I know GAPPS have done something here but to be honest, I have not explored it yet; in order, not to bias what I write here.

Ideally, organizations could come together to draw this map – but that would be difficult since each will have its own interest to protect. Then the second choice is a group of experts coming together to do this – again GAPPS might be the answer and I am willing to support such a proposal through GAPPS.

The map should be simple to read – like a flowchart – that guide people where to go or what to study based on interest and needs. Such a map should include whatever standards that exist – so we do not write more standards. It would be ideal if we can summarize these standards in the map (compendium).

The SUKAD 7Es™

Let us consider the SUKAD 7Es™ model, which is a maturity model but in reality it is a framework for building the organizational project management system. The figure below shows the model structure; please refer to our website to read more about it.


The SUKAD Seven Elements of Project Management Maturity

The core of the model are four elements, these are:

  • Method: referring to the need for a project management methodology (could be SDLC, PRINCE2, Agile, CAM2P™; depending on the project)
  • Process: such as what the PMBOK Guide offers but we may need to cover the PMBOK gaps, such as on safety, environment, etc. that may not be applicable to all projects
  • Professional Development: such as IPMA Competence Baseline, GAPPS, and PMI
  • Tools and technology: no specific standard to mention here but there are various tools that are popular in project management environment

What we list above is at the higher level. If we drill down, we can utilize other standards from the numerous professional associations. This is also a link to a proposed certification model that follow the core principles that we discuss here.

Let me rest here and give you all a chance to think about this topic and possible debate it but hopefully with the intention to create something.

We urge you that for this article, please let us discuss here on this blog site in order to keep all comments in one place.

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