Project Management

Do You See What I See?

PMI United Kingdom Chapter

Ian Whittingham, PMP is director of Calixo Consulting, providing project and program management expertise from initiation through to implementation, covering business transformation, workflow process re-engineering, and enterprise data integration. He is a regular contributor to You may contact Ian directly at

When we look out on the world, around nine-tenths of so-called reality can be accounted for by the mechanism of perception, a complex process of data gathering and modeling that translates the stimuli of external phenomena into internal mental constructs that we process and manipulate--and then re-apply to the external world via the agency of our actions. Two hundred thousand years of evolutionary biology has hardwired homo sapiens to interact with the world in this way. Thus, what we perceive as reality is as much about what’s inside our heads as it is about what’s out there. Which may be one reason why scope management can sometimes be a vexing experience for project managers.
Whatever the project, scope always conjures to my mind some sense of physical presence, even when the project’s artifacts are embodied in the intangibilities of software. Scope presents itself to me as a bounded set of things, to be captured and contained within the project’s net. Its objects comprise things both tangible and intangible that can be analyzed, counted and categorized. While on the other side of the boundary--hopeful that they might slide under or jump over the wall--are those things that are out of scope, deliberately excluded from the project but nevertheless constantly pressed upon us to gain admission.
Even the language we use to describe the …

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"Work is what you do for others . . . art is what you do for yourself."

- Stephen Sondheim