Written by Randy Iliff, Systems Engineer and fellow Project Manager
Updating the PMBOK® Guide every five years presents a fresh opportunity to ensure that the standard and body of knowledge properly reflect current practice within project delivery. With the kick-off of the Seventh Edition update this month, the PMBOK® Guide will make a dramatic shift from a process-based view of the project environment to a systems-based view.
What is a systems-based view, and how does that relate to project management you may ask?
The INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook defines a system as: …an integrated set of elements, subsystems, or assemblies that accomplish a defined objective. There’s a lot more in there about systems of course, but the key is that systems produce outcomes as a function of not only the contribution by individual elements, but also the result of all interactions between all elements.
In Systems Engineering that’s called an emergent property and the concept is one of the most fundamental insights practitioners must master. In people we use terms like personality and soul, and all agree that there is no single cell or molecule you can point to as the origin. Every project manager will attest that despite a host of common elements, individual projects are as unique as fingerprints. You cannot understand why a project succeeds or fails simply by examining the task list - to truly master the effort you must see the entirety of interactions as well as the tasks.
I’ve worked on an enormous range of projects over my career–some simple, others as demanding as standing up launch facilities for the US Space Shuttle and placing a cubic kilometer of instrumentation called “IceCube” under the South Pole. The list of tasks and parts were always different, but the connections between the tasks were surprisingly common. Over time, I realized that the underlying logic was something I could easily build upon and reuse.
Without exception I found the system perspective essential to satisfying the wide range of stakeholders involved. It helped me transform competition between interests into successful compromise. I found that view so helpful that I helped found INCOSE as a way to share the message with others.
The next edition of the PMBOK® Guide presents us with the opportunity to better reflect key interfaces that must be properly enabled in any given application context. It can take into account the implications of those interfaces for project delivery as well as enhance the understanding of a host of other relationships that inevitably drive project outcomes.
Because our projects are always systems – not just a stack of parts or tasks—only a system view offers the richness needed to fully support the PM community and the stakeholders who depend upon us. An interactive workshop at the PMI Global Conference in Philadelphia, 5-7 October 2019, will explore the concept of a systems view of project management and its implications for the underlying principles for managing projects. If you are planning to be at Global Conference, plan to participate in this workshop that will help to inform the development of the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide.
This year, the PMI® Organizational Agility Conference will explore Evolving Approaches to Resilient Value Delivery during an exciting day of networking, professional development, and learning. The members-only virtual event will be held on September 12th from 9am to 5pm ET, offering the opportunity to earn 6 PDUs.
Join us as we examine the concept of change resilience with professionals who are driving it within their organizations—and those who are living it as part of their own development. We are excited to welcome the following speakers:
Register for PMI® Organizational Agility Conference 2019 today!
On 27 June, three members of the academic community were recognized for their contributions to research in the profession with the 2019 PMI Project Management Journal Paper of the Year Award.
The Project Management Journal Paper of the Year Award honors the best paper published in the Project Management Journal in the previous year. The award recognizes the significance of academic research and the importance of refereed journal articles to the creation and dissemination of knowledge in the field of project management.
The winning paper was “Coordinating Knowledge Work in Multiteam Programs: Findings From a Large-Scale Agile Development Program,” appearing in the November/December 2018 issue (Volume 49, number 6).
The paper was authored by Professor Torgier Dingsøyr, chief scientist at the SINTEF research foundation in Trondheim, Norway, and adjunct professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Nils Brede Moe, senior scientist at SINTEF; and Eva Amdahl Seim, a senior research manager at SINTEF.
“I think this award is a sign of the growing interest in project management practices which have developed in software development, and which become increasingly relevant also for other domains with the current importance of digitalization,” said Dingsøyr.
“As the study is understood as a significant contribution to the field of large-scale agile and agile transformation, the award will motivate for more studies within the same topic,” explained Moe.
Seim added, “We have been researching coordination in work and particularly software work for two decades. To me, this award is recognition of years of hard and gratifying work.”
This recognition took place during the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, at the ISCTE-IUL University. The award was presented to Professor Dingsøyr on the evening of 27 June at a reception for the EURAM Project Organising Strategic Interest Group, sponsored by PMI.
With the arrival of longer days and warm weather, we’re embracing the unofficial start of summer here at PMI headquarters! Summer means our next virtual event, PMI Talent & Technology Symposium, will soon be here, and it marks the launch of some new community programming initiatives. Here’s a look at what’s happening in your June Community News You can Use:
Last Chance to Register for PMI Talent & Technology Symposium 2019: Our second virtual event of the year will take place on June 12th. Join us for an exciting day of learning and networking, as we explore the impact of rapidly changing technologies on the project management profession across industries. View the event agenda, and register for PMI Talent & Technology Symposium 2019 today!
Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything! Series: The quarterly series featuring various PMI experts will launch on June 17th. In the first Q&A session, Karl Best, PMI Standards Specialist, joins us to discuss “What’s up with Standards? – What they’re for, and Your Opportunity to participate in developing them.” The webinar will be posted on-demand for your viewing convenience.
Attend a PMI event: Take the opportunity to network with your fellow community members in person! Registration is open for PMI® Global Conference 2019 (5-7 October) as well as PMO Symposium® 2019 (3-6 November).
PMI 50th Anniversary and Global Celebration of Service: In May, PMI announced that its initial target of 50,000 volunteer hours was reached, and the goal has been raised to 100,000 hours! Thank you to everyone in the community who has volunteered their skills and knowledge in support of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. There is still time to have an impact – join in the Global Celebration of Service, and share your volunteer stories with us!
How to Plot the Next Step in Your Career: Community member and project management expert, Emily Luijbregts, provides advice for devising your career plan in her latest article. How do you define and work toward your goals?
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to a member of the Community Engagement team – we’re happy to help you. We look forward to sharing more community programming news throughout the year!
Our ProjectManagement.com team is always looking for ways to grow and strengthen the community here. This year we're working on four new initiatives that we believe will do just that — from helping you connect and engage with each other in more meaningful ways, to creating discussions and forums for you to ask questions, share work experiences, and learn about exciting offerings at PMI.
As you may have already seen back in March, we launched a new blog called Peerspective, managed by editor Aaron Smith. "Peers sharing perspectives" — that's its purpose, and in each spotlight we learn about how a community member got started, what they’ve discovered along the way, and why they love what they do. We all benefit from learning about each other’s experiences, challenges, achievements and insights. Perhaps you may be the next person featured, and be sure to check out new installments every month!
In June, we will launch a quarterly Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything! series. Here, we will present short Q&A sessions with various PMI experts. The first one will be June 17 with guest Karl Best, PMI Standards Specialist, discussing “What’s Up With Standards?" Other PMI departments and experts will soon follow, and all sessions, which are non-PDU bearing, will be recorded and posted for your convenience. Which PMI department or offering would you like to learn more about? We welcome your suggestions!
Later this summer, our Discussion area will feature a new board called Community Central. Here, we will announce site news, including new features, and facilitate two discussion threads where you can discuss your current work challenges and request help from (or provide answers to) your fellow community members.
Later in the year, we will launch Community Conversations — non-PDU bearing roundtables that allows for informal, small-group discussions on a variety of topics that you choose. We hope to create an opportunity for you to engage in friendly, open exchanges with your peers—to help each other on any number of work challenges or professional development goals, from interviewing and skill building, to understanding industry trends.