Project Management

Brave New World (Part 2)

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

My last column began a hypothetical look at what would happen if project management were to actually become a profession. It explored the personal implications that we as project managers would face if our profession were regulated, and the way that our jobs, our responsibilities and to a certain extent our careers would change.

What of the professional organizations promoting project management as a discipline? An open question is the role that organizations like PMI would continue to play. Professions are regulated in specific, defined jurisdictions, usually at the state and provincial level. All other professions have regulatory bodies established within each jurisdiction. Each regulatory body defines the standards of its profession, the codes of practice, the entry requirements and the disciplinary procedures that govern it.

Within the context of each profession, the regulatory body for a particular jurisdiction is paramount--there is no overarching "parent." Often, standards are coordinated and aligned in order to allow for more flexible movement of professionals from one jurisdiction to the other, but there is no guarantee or specific requirement of this occurring.

As a result, organizations like PMI might become professional education or networking bodies, but they would likely not retain the ability to establish standards. This would fall to the individual …

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"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite."

- Bertrand Russell