PMI Standards: Understanding Their Purpose

Craig is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and has worked with for the last six years developing the various HEADWAY processes (Project, Change and Portfolio). He has hosted a series of webinars and is a business intelligence subject matter expert.

Over the years, I have read all of PMI’s foundational standards along with some of the practice and standard extensions. I would like to say that I read them because I was forced to, or that I was shipwrecked on a deserted island and the only box that came ashore with me was copies of all of PMI’s standards.

Unfortunately, neither of those would be true. While I did read the standards for work purposes, I also read them more out of sheer interest. I can remember one New Year’s Eve four years ago where I actually tried to download the just-released copy of the latest PMBOK. Fortunately, I wasn’t able to and instead got back to the New Year’s Eve festivities that I might have missed otherwise. I read them to find out what is now being accepted as best practice and what will become future practice on projects. I read them to identify practices that I can transfer into customer-specific processes or methodologies. Other times, I read them out of sheer interest and excitement.

At the same time as I delight in reading the newest PMBOK, I also have conversations about those same standards with others in the project management field. In some, not all, of those conversations, I come across some strongly held misconceptions about PMI’s standards that continue to amaze me. Let’s look at some of the more common misconceptions and …

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"If you can't convince them, confuse them."

- Harry S. Truman

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