6th Edition PMBOK® Guide—The Importance of Project Management

I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the first chapter is a general introduction to the framework in which project management exists, starting with section 1.2 Foundation Elements (section 1.1 describes the purpose of the Guide).

In section 1.2.2, PMI discusses the importance of project management.

As you might suspect, the Project Management Institute does indeed think that project management is important to an organization.    There are three reasons:

  1.  It helps organizations execute projects effectively (getting the right things done)
  2.  It helps organizations execute projects efficiently (getting things done right)
  3.  It helps organizations achieve strategic objectives.

This last reason is important to emphasize, because there is a tendency to think of projects as simply on the level of tactics, i.e., the actual means of achieving an objective.  However, the project manager should consider himself or herself as a strategic ambassador, by learning from the sponsor what the strategic objectives of the organization are that the project will be tied to.   This is important in motivating team members who may not be aware of the larger impact their efforts on the project may have after the project has been completed.   But it also has a pragmatic component, because the project manager can take an active role in preventing changes that would jeopardize that strategic objective from being realized!

It is possible to overemphasize the importance of projects?   There are some in the agile community who feel that there is too much focus on projects and too little on products.   In the next post, I will discuss a post by Anthony Mersino in his review of the Agile Practice Guide on his blog Vitality Chicago which tries to put projects in the larger context of product development.


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