"We live in a world of self-generating beliefs which remain
largely untested. We adopt those beliefs because they are based on conclusions,
which are inferred from what we observe, plus our past experience. Our ability
to achieve the results we truly desire is eroded by our feelings that: our beliefs
are the truth; the truth is obvious; our beliefs are based on real data; and
the data we select are real data." (Ross 1994)
Since 1995, we have witnessed four Global Project Management Forums (GPMF)
which have been conducted with heightening interest and success. Undoubtedly,
this is a reflection of the increasing recognition of the 'globalization' of
the market place and the competition that it brings. Project management is no
exception. However, if we are to advance towards a 'Global Profession' as some
suggest, then we need a vehicle for effective communication and a common understanding
of the content and structure of the field.
Communication was clearly on the minds of the GPMF when they put forward the
objectives that state in part:
- To provide leaders of the project management profession around the world
with the opportunity to ... share information and to discuss issues ...
- To advance globalization of the project management profession, by promoting
communication ... around the world
- To provide educational opportunities for participants to learn ...
- To advance the project management profession technically, and in more geographic
areas, industries and organizations, on a global basis.
But how can we achieve these laudable objectives without some collective and
common understanding of the dimensions and content of the project management
profession and a vehicle for communication? True, there is no shortage of books,
articles, videos, and CD-ROMS on project management, projects, and 'how-to-do-it'.
Yet there are still areas we have barely begun to tap such as better project
portfolio selection, program management, and beneficial product transfer with
collective focus on supporting corporate policy rather than individual and competing
How does this all knit together into a comprehensive whole? Since project management
is clearly pervasive and complex, do we not need some semblance of structure
to facilitate learning? This paper attempts to address that issue.