Published here May 2017


Musings Index

Praxis! Really, What's That?

Praxis is the name given to a newcomer on the block of project management standards. And if the authors continue to survive with their completely new conceptual approach to describing project management in its broader sense, then you need to pay attention! But first, let's get to know what it is all about.

First the name, according to Wikipedia, is an ancient Greek word to describe the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized. "Praxis" may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas. This has been a recurrent topic in the field of philosophy, discussed in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, and many others. It has meaning in the political, educational, and spiritual realms.[1]

Now the word is used to refer to a new project management framework that has a number of special features:[2]

  1. Praxis is entirely free to use under the terms of the Creative Commons license. You may adapt and use the Praxis Framework for your own purposes as long as you acknowledge its source. You must also make your work available to others free of royalties. Ideally, your contribution will be incorporated into this web site for the benefit of others.
  2. Praxis brings together a body of knowledge, methodology, competence framework and capability maturity model in a single integrated framework with a single structure and terminology. No more need for mapping and translation between different guides.
  3. By definition, there is no such thing as a typical project, program or portfolio and Praxis is not prescriptive in the way its components are applied. The framework is designed to provide building blocks that can be tailored and assembled to suit all manner of different contexts.
  4. Most project, program and portfolio management guides are updated by panels of experts every few years. The aim with Praxis is to update and extend the framework and library on a continuous basis. As our users provide adaptations and lessons learned, we will incorporate these into the framework. Check our news feed on this page and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date.

So what is this framework?

This framework currently consists of three groups of five interconnected elements:[3]

  1. The content of the P3M[4] discipline: Knowledge (Contextual and management functions) and Method (Processes and documentation)
  2. The application of the P3M discipline: Competence (individual performance) and Capability maturity (Organizational performance), and
  3. Experience of the P3M community in a Library (Encyclopedia and articles).

As the authors see it, the challenge now facing the PM profession is to find consistency and consensus across the many guides so that they may be used together in an integrated framework. So they have designed Praxis to provide that integration. It takes the principles of existing, proven guides and adapts them so that they have a common terminology, structure and approach. It also supports these with a library of information drawn from published experts and the practical experience of the P3M community.

The general idea of this new construct has been deliberated upon over a number of years. However, this specific Praxis model was launched as recently as 2012 and the most recent update of the Glossary was no less than February 2nd of this year. In short, Praxis is all about the practical application of knowledge. Through community involvement Praxis should become a living repository of knowledge that project, program and portfolio managers can apply in their everyday work.[5]

As the authors collectively observe:

"The internet has changed the way we work beyond recognition. The web provides so much free information in an accessible way. The decision was taken that Praxis should also be completely free and become part of the 'Wikipedia generation', making the basic principles of project, program and portfolio management more accessible and usable.

Amen to that! Interestingly, the famous building architect, R. Buckminster Fuller, is quoted as saying:

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"

The Praxis documentation that is available on line is already extensive. In fact there's lots of it, all in easy-to-understand and easily digested and extensively cross-linked packages. You'll find it all here:

So rally round all you project management practitioners and support this initiative — because I love it!

1. See Wikipedia -
2. See
3. Reference:
4. The term "Project Management" is used in its broader sense, i.e. Single project management, Program management, and Project portfolio management, or P3M for short.
5. See more at:
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