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Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Rethinking Project Management Miles Shepherd Visiting Fellow Bournemouth Business School.

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Presentation on theme: "Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Rethinking Project Management Miles Shepherd Visiting Fellow Bournemouth Business School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Rethinking Project Management Miles Shepherd Visiting Fellow Bournemouth Business School

2 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Background to Network National need for programme and project management skills, Growth and increasing complexity in project work, Growing importance of projects in organisations & government, Increasing membership of associations, Perceptions of the failure of projects, Dissatisfaction with the discipline and profession.

3 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Focus Areas 1.Shaping & Planning the Network 2.Making sense of the field (context) 3.Making sense of PM practice 4.PM in different sectors 5.Rethinking the foundations 6.New research directions 7.Messages for Industry

4 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Meetings 1.UMIST – Content, context and process 2.UCL – Emerging themes and new perspectives 3.Newcastle – Projects Across Different Sectors 4.London – Projectification & Managing Multiple Projects 5.Strathclyde – Actuality & Uncertainty 6.Bath – The Profession and Practitioner Development 7.Manchester – Research Topics, Industry Messages & Network Review

5 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Practitioner Development Concerns The recognition of the multiplicity of project management roles and competencies. Project management requires a wider range of knowledge than conceived in the past - How can it be brought to bear in practice? Thinking about uncertainty needs to be more sophisticated. There are some contexts for which the APM Body of Knowledge (BoK) is wrong.

6 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Concerning ‘Practitioner Development’: How practitioners learn and develop. Reclaiming the knowledge – professional associations vs academic institutions.

7 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Reclaiming the knowledge There is excessive focus on what to do - methods and tools (Prince2) - and an unhelpful separation of training and practice. More attention is required to address: front end definition, ‘soft’ skills, understanding of types of knowledge, social processes (CoP), learning in context, development of judgement, the need for ‘educated’ senior managers. Soft skills to address: ‘reading’, perception, self-awareness, judgement, engaging with complexity and uncertainty, intuition. Consideration should be given to: simulation, coaching, double-loop learning, combined individual and group learning, and combining individual development with and organisational development.

8 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Practitioner Development The process of professionalisation Knowledge issues Implications for academia

9 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Professionalisation Issues the excessive focus on what to do - methods and tools – rather than craft knowledge the dislocation between training, development and practice the excessive focus on knowledge acquisition at the expense of capability development.

10 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching The process of professionalisation The role of the professional associations. The relationship between BoKs, practitioners and certification. Scope: breadth of project management knowledge. Contexts – whether there are any contexts where BoKs are inappropriate.

11 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching BoK Issues understanding what the BoK is for, and the clarity of the definition of the profession, the ethical stance to be taken – whether client- orientated or contractual, the underlying theory of project management, the research design – being based on opinions rather than investigation.

12 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Network view on BoK as Standard It is reasonable that governments should demand or impose standards, since they suffer from gross wastage on projects. However it is not logical that they should limit this regulation to project execution. We should query whether the trend and process whereby BoKs become established and hard to change is inevitable. That the APM may need to rethink its policy of coupling BoK and professional certification. Other profession (eg GMC) leave knowledge ownership to the universities. It is essential that academia fulfils its role to describe things as they see them – to go beyond the formal BoK and similar. There is a need for independent research based knowledge. Practitioners will welcome the rethinking of boundaries and expansion of the curricula, but will resist changes to the certification levels.

13 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Areas for Consideration The need to consider how the BoK is used in practice, and how practitioners relate to it, use it, ignore it, work round it etc The value and limitations of codified knowledge, and whether it is beneficial or detrimental to practitioner development. Whether BoKs are adequate for guiding practitioners.

14 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Areas for Consideration - 2 The distinction between a BoK and a “guide to the BoK” (PMI). The distinction between a formal BoK and a wider less defined ‘bok’. The distinction between a BoK (defining) and ‘models’ (for use). The wider body of management knowledge that is relevant.

15 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Areas for Consideration - 3 That in other disciplines there are restrictions on practice by those who cannot prove their knowledge. The need or otherwise for project management to have a code of ethics. Auditable following of procedures vs the application of professional judgement.

16 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Areas for Consideration - 4 Whether project management professionals are equivalent to others – professionals whose decisions and actions can be trusted in complex situations. The means by which professional groups use BoK to close off alternative approaches. The value, or otherwise, of certification of professional groups by nation states. The importance of developing the capabilities of project clients – client development.

17 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Reclaiming Knowledge In traditional professions, knowledge is claimed by academic institutions while practice remains in the domain of the practitioner. In PM, both are claimed by the associations. This stultifies innovation and leads to conflicts of interest – equivalent to protection by a guild. A preferable cycle is for academics to carry out research, and then codify knowledge which is dispersed in the public domain..

18 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Reclaiming Knowledge – Current Issues Intellectual ownership (cross-disciplinary) Resourcing and funding, Handling pluralism, The function of project management, The nature of knowledge and the role of government

19 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching Further information… Papers from all meetings are available from:

20 Project Management Network for Excellence in Learning & Teaching New Directions Here the word ‘ Towards ’ means to enhance the ‘ from ’ position rather than to discard it


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