Monday, April 27, 2009

What is project management?

A PMP considers PMBOK his professional Bible. I very much do that too. At the same time I strongly disagree with the very definition of project management in the PMBOK.

The exact words in the PMBOK are as follows:
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of the 42 logically grouped project management processes comprising the 5 process groups.

What does the above statement say? It says application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques is project management. Is that so? It also says project management is accomplished through appropriate application and integration of whatever. Is that so?

Let us look at an alternate definition.

"Project management is the process of right planning, executing and controlling of the project to achieve project objectives, effectively and efficiently."

Like the general management, project management is all about the effective and efficient utilization of men, material, machines and money to maximize the throughput yield within the parameters of time and quality.

I think PMI needs to relook into their definition of Project Management.


  1. I see that these two definitions are complementary to each other. To do "right planning, executing ..." etc. you need to apply knowledge and skills in an integrated manner. The second definition is probably easy to comprehend.
    My two cents.

  2. Well- I would strongly suggest that you should read section 1.5 of PMBOK edition 3.

    The knowledge is not limited to the application or technology - one should know the project environment to become a successful project manager and deliver the project successfully.

    It is assumed that the project manager is adhering to high professional standards and ethics apart from applying knowledge areas and process groups.

  3. Dear Naren and Mukund

    Thanks for your comments.

    I agree with both of you as much as I agree with rest of the PMBOK and everything else they say. :) Before, publishing this post I did go through atleast a few related pages to make sure what I was writing.

    Now my point here, that differs from Naren's points made in his comments, is the significance of tasks. I think the definition of project management in PMBOK is not wrong but it should be the part of the explanation and not the definition.

    Do you think anybody other than a PMP and other than a member of PMI will agree with the PMI's definition of Project Management? Don't you think this definition should be somewhat same and only the 'how' could differ?

    Consider the definition of project itself. Though the PMI definition of project is unique, I do not think anybody is going to challenge that. A project is everything that PMBOK says. Different people might use different wording, but the basic definition will remain the same.