Published here October 2002.


Musings Index

Why we added a Site Map - and why it is the way it is

Our web site now contains a considerable amount of useful reference material. This material is specific to the practical application of project management in day-to-day project activities. The problem is, how do you best find your way around to locate just what you want, when you want it, and as quickly as possible. Clearly, the time had come for some sort of indexing, but on what basis? A strictly book-like index in alphabetical order did not appear to do the job. That's because of the difficulty of identifying sufficient key words that would be meaningful to the reader. Indeed, such a list would be less useful than the index page listings that presently exist for the main departments.

We had hoped to organize groups of topics around the Areas of PM Application (APMA) described in Issacon #1001, or according to the hierarchical structure proposed in Issacon #1002. That would have been ideal had there been a reasonably balanced amount of material available relative to each APMA, and/or each label in the hierarchical structure. However, my knowledge and content has been built up over a number of years based on my own practice and, as I suspect with most people, this has not been evenly distributed across all of the topics identified. Indeed, it now appears that PM knowledge is not equally developed over all these areas anyway.

For example, the software industry is, even now, desperately trying to establish unique approaches to project management that work and are successful. That suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done in other areas as well, for those sufficiently experienced and visionary to tackle it. There is a related difficulty as well — the difficulty that most people have in segregating what constitutes the management of any particular technology, and the knowledge associated with project managing that technology.

But I digress.

For us, the most satisfactory approach to some form of indexing seemed to be to accept the eight or nine headings of the Project Management Institute's project management body of knowledge (PMBoK) as the basic structure and build on that. After all, I was involved in the development of the PMBoK structure in the mid 1980s and that does appear to have stood the test of time. Of course, there are always groups of topics that do not fit this mold. For example, where should one place such subjects as Earned Value? Should it be in Scope, Cost, Time, or General? Or again where do standard project management forms belong?

In the end, we adopted the very pragmatic consideration of reasonable balance in the number of subjects under a topic heading that should prove to be most useful to the user of the site. After all, why make it all more complicated than necessary? So, that simply led us to a set of major and minor headings, with color coding according to the type of content — as you can see for yourself.

I hope you can now find what you want more easily, and enjoy using our site!

October 2002

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