Innovation thoughout the PMBOK Guide: A Comparative Annalysis.

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Innovation thoughout the PMBOK Guide: A Comparative Annalysis.

Category: Business

Subcategory: Communication

Level: Masters

Pages: 10

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Innovation through the PMBOK Guide: A Comparative Analysis
Institutional Affiliation

A project is one of the principal drivers of the project management sector. Even though the definition of success in project management is still elusive, the steps and processes required to achieve it are available and applicable. It is on that premise that the Project Management Institute (PMI) developed standards of the practice through the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. This guide dictates best practice and generally, adequate measures advising personnel in the project management field on their necessary knowledge areas and the processes entailed. It has been modified over the years (six times now), to merge the practice with current trends. Advancements in the field necessitated frequent updating of the guide to include innovative methods and do away with old features. This paper evaluates the changes in the guides with a significant focus on the novel and creative changes that brought about improvements in the project management sector.
Keywords: project management, Project Management Institute (PMI), Project Management Book of Knowledge Guide, Innovation

The Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed in 1969 with the intent of providing leadership in the project management field. It was and still is a not-for-profit organization. The institute was mandated to improve the project management field through several functions. First, the institute by recognizing the gap in professionalism within project management, through its various standards, the institute fosters and enforces professionalism and discipline in the field. The institute has developed a network of project management professionals who create a platform and market to exchange project management complications, answers, and applications in a free manner. Coordination of research efforts in both the academic and industrial sector is also a critical function which supports the development of universal terminology and techniques that ensure enhancement of communications. Additionally, this organization acts as an intermediary between hardware and software consumers and contractors and sets the strategies that define the growth of a career in project management (Chumas & Hartmann, 1975). To fully execute its mandate, the institute recruited professionals to develop industry standards. The institute was also qualified to provide accreditation, the first of that being the PMP, Project Management Professional.
The PMI developed the Project Management Book of Knowledge herein referred to as the PMBOK Guide in 1996 to streamline project management and disseminate knowledge in the project management world through its experts. The guide was modified in subsequent years, to adopt the practice to current trends (Project Management Institute, 2017). These trends clamored for innovation in project management to deliver more projects more effectively. In line with that, this assignment will first interrogate the innovation procedure and evaluate how it applies to project management. It will then analyze PMBOK through its already released editions by assessing the innovative strategies that have been useful in improving the guide.
What is the PMBOK Guide
The PMBOK Guide refers to the amount of knowledge in project management as a profession. In simple terms, it is the Holy book of every project management professional (Wideman, 1986). Through each guide, the process has been made more interactive with one another. In summation, the PMBOK Guide provides the framework of project management and not the methodology. It also explains the tools and techniques while refraining from telling project professionals how to carry out their duties. It gives project professionals the guidance they need, while also giving them an opportunity to be creative and innovative when doing their jobs (Usmani, 2014, p.1).
It is a product of the PMI, which is the number one professional membership institution for project management experts (Project Management Institute, 2017). The PMBOK guide not only includes traditional practices of project management that have been tested and proven for efficiency, but it also includes emerging innovations in the profession. The guide is the most used and preferred tool in the project management area of knowledge. Over time, the Project Management sector has developed a consensus that the information, competencies, apparatuses, and procedures contained in the PMBOK guide, if applied accordingly, have the potential to raise the success potential of numerous projects (Project Management Institute, 2013; Koskela & Howell, 2002). The guide was developed from the contents of a white paper previously generated from the PMI. The document was called the Ethics, Standards and Accreditation Committee Final Report. This article merely informed the profession of the code of ethics and standards of practice within the field. It also gave an outline of the accreditation of the career as provided by the institute.
The PMBOK guide is in such a manner that makes the project management procedure process oriented. It attributes successful accomplishment of work through the processes undertaken to achieve it. The five operations highlighted in the guide begin by describing a new project or by introducing the next stage of a current project. The initiation process entails obtaining permission to set out on the project or stage. The planning phase lays out procedures, which are to be undertaken to establish the scope and aims of the plan or period, while also defining and detailing the trajectory, which are to be taken to make sure the set goals that the project was meant for are achieved. The processes undertaken to finish the project as outlined in the project management idea are part of the execution processes phase. These processes must be sure to meet the specifications and objectives set out in the project. The monitoring and controlling process groups outline the procedures which are employed to appraise the project’s growth and performance. This procedure happens through reviews, which inform regulation and tracking the project to identify any areas where planning changes need to occur and before initiating these changes. Finally, the closing process groups detail processes performed to put a conclusion to all events across all the groups mentioned before to dispense with the project or stage formally.
The PMBOK guide was initially operational in 1996. It was predicated upon the necessity to assemble an official document to develop professional development in project management. A 1981 project developed standards, concept and procedures required in the profession, which led to the publishing of the Project Management Book of Knowledge. The first edition provided the bases for the developments in subsequent versions.
Innovation in Project Management
The Merriam-Webster tendered the definition of innovation as “a new idea, method, or device.“ Innovation is an essential aspect of any project because it generates and implements ideas that are crucial to value addition in the organization. Innovation is more than improvement because it entails generation of novel approaches. However, these innovations need to focus on data and logic (Gallagher, 2015). Innovation in project management entails acting upon the generated ideas to develop new processes or items (Warner, 2012). The need for change is inspired by the ineffective traditional methods that tend to focus only on defined deliverables to inform the delivery of products and services. These methods were lacking with regards to problem-solving approaches. The PMBOK guide through its editions has managed to address some of these lacunas by ensuring every version has a notable advancement in the knowledge areas while being sure to integrate new applicable ideas that will make sure the profession embraces improvements in society (Zwikael, 2009).
Innovations through the PMBOK Guide
The first issue of the PMBOK guide introduced 9 project management knowledge segments, thirty-seven processes as well as the five groups of methods that have been mentioned above. Each of the regions contained project management processes. The first knowledge area was the project integration management. A project manager has to apply this knowledge area to ensure that essential operations that facilitate the coordination of various elements of projects are appropriately coordinated. Trading off on competing objectives and alternatives are the key features in this area. Integration management is designed to reflect or surpass the requirements as set out by the relevant stakeholders. This knowledge area requires that project plans are developed and coordinated to create a streamlined and comprehensible document. The project plan should also be carried out strategically, and changes across the projects should be well organized (Project Management Institute, 1996, p 39).
The next area introduced is the project scope management. This aspect refers to processes that guide accurate definition and mapping of the project scope. The guide also outlines the techniques involved in these processes whose the objective is to enable project managers to allocate the appropriate workforce and duties to make sure that there is successful completion of a project. The guide also outlined five process groups in scope management (Project Management Institute, 1996, p.47).
The third area outlined was project cost management. It entails the procedures used in managing costs in the project. This activity is done through thorough planning, estimation, budgeting, financing, funding, management and control of costs. This knowledge area is vital in ensuring that a project is completed within the purview of the approved budget (Project Management Institute, 1996, p 59).
The fourth knowledge area introduced was the project time management which outlines processes that should be undertaken to ensure timely conclusion of a project. The fifth knowledge area presented was project quality management which influences quality policies, objectives and responsibilities through processes and activities undertaken by the organizations performing the project. This process exists to ensure that the project links needs with quality. The next knowledge area was in line with human resource management. This area dictated the organization, management, and leadership of the project team. It determined the institution of the personnel that was to undertake the activity (Project Management Institute, 1996).
The project communications management informed the handling of project information. The guide detailed procedures in line with collection and dissemination of information regarding the project. These processes dictate best practices in planning on the collection of data, methods of collection of data, creation, and distribution of the communication, monitoring of the integrity and reliability of the data and disposition to ensure timely delivery of the communication.
Project Risk Management advises the method of first of all identifying project risks, analysis of the said risk, performing risk management planning and risk response strategies. In the second release of the PMBOK Guide titled the PMBOK Guide 2000 the Institute implemented several recommendations for improving it. The upgrades were incorporated in the edition released in 2000. In chapter 11 on page 111 the guide of 1996 introduced only four processes in the Risk Management area, page 127 of the 2000 edition adds two new methods. These new processes are risk management and qualitative risk analysis (Project Management Institute, 2002, p. 129; Zwikael, 2009). Risk Management Planning was introduced for purposes of planning on the approaches and tactics to be taken when implementing risk management activities. On the other hand, qualitative risk analysis was presented to assess the effect and chances of identified risks, and in result determination of channels project professionals can use to address the specific dangers (Project Management Institute, 2000, p. 133)
Finally, the project procurement management field covered the procedures needed for acquisition of essential goods that are not within the project management group. The processes in this team comprise planning of procurement and solicitation, selection of suppliers or contractors, administration, and closeout of contract (Project Management Institute, 1996, p. 103-136). However, as can be seen on page 415 of the 6th edition, the processes of procurement management were adjusted in cognizance of the fact that most project managers do not have the legal authority to close contracts, the guide transferred aspects of that process to the close project or phase processes. This situation leaves project managed with the duty to close projects as opposed to the contracts (Naveed et al., 2017, p. 7)
While the guide made changes in the critical knowledge areas of project management it also made changes to broad terminologies used. One such change reflected in the third edition of the guide. The meetings to update this edition began in 2002, and it consolidated responses from relevant stakeholders. Structurally, this edition meant to emphasize the importance of the process groups. All processes were analyzed to ensure that they were clear, precise and appropriately placed and the guide included a process flow diagram to help readers associate methods with one another. The guide also addressed blind spots from the previous editions through the inclusion of new operations that were missing or underrepresented. For example, in the 2000 version as seen in page 3, the guides primary purpose is to “identify and describe that subset of the PMBOK that is generally accepted” (Project Management Institute, 2000). However, in the subsequent edition, the terminology for the guides primary purpose as described in page 3 was changed to “ identify that subset of the Project Management Body of Knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice” (Project Management Institute, 2004). This model was essential in reiterating the idea that a consensus on the value and value of the knowledge and practices exists. Whereas ‘good practices’ imply the acceptance that when used correctly, the skills, instruments, and will improve the potential of successful completion of many projects (Fahrenkrog, 2004).
It is also in the PMBOK Guide released in 2004 that the Project Management renamed their guides using editions as opposed to using the years of publication. This version was named the PMBOK Guide 3rd Edition. This edition was rewritten with the essence of promoting discourse on the various knowledge areas. It also describes the knowledge areas across all project management processes. The 3rd edition was not short on innovation as it introduced a notable new subsection under ‘Areas of Expertise.’ On page 15 of this edition, the institute included interpersonal skills needed for the management of interpersonal relationships. The previous versions were conclusive when it came to project management matters. However, there was a severe lacuna in how to incorporate interpersonal skills into project management. This addition would add value to project management personnel as it is informative on how the staff can engage one another and society at large regarding matters like leadership, negotiation, team building, communication, and influencing the organization (Project Management Institute, 2002)
The PMBOK 4th edition that was published in 2004 attempted to maintain consistency, accessibility, and clarity (Project Management Institute, 2004, p. 349). In line with changes in the practice, and in the spirit of transparency, obsolete processes were deleted, and the number of operations decreased from 44 to 42 as can be seen on page 356. Despite that, the guide maintained the messaging and information and even included new procedures that would help project management personnel identify stakeholders and collect requirements. Finally, in this edition, process names were changed to a verb-noun format. This transformation was necessary for enhancing understanding of the processes.
As expected, after the release of the 4th Edition, the Project Management Institute received several recommendations. This situation necessitated the review of the edition to identify the suggestions that could be incorporated in the 5th edition. The significant innovation in this guide was guided by the need to involve stakeholders in the management processes as illustrated on page 399 onward. This process was predicated upon the realization that over time stakeholders played a pivotal role within project management, hence the inclusion of project stakeholder management. Over and above increasing some operations and merging other, the guide transferred to identify stakeholders and join their expectations into the project stakeholder management (Project Management Institute, 2009).
The current edition is the 6th edition. This edition included more sections on agile project management and a whole chapter on the meaning of project leadership management and what it entails (Project Management Institute. 2017). The addition of agile project management was predicated upon the principles of the strategy. After each knowledge area, the guide has a segment on approaches for agile, iterative and adaptive environments (Naveed et al., 2017, p. 8). The agile method enables teams to respond to shifts and unpredictability by use of sprints through frequent/iterative work sequences, even when faced with the challenge of limited resources. Through this addition, project management personnel can prioritize customer satisfaction by delivering results rapidly and continuously. They would embrace environment changes at any stage to offer services more frequently (Chin, 2004, p.1).
On the other hand, the improvement on project management leadership is essential in informing leaders in the field of leadership essentials. This section refers to the project management institute’s talent triangle and outlines the sets of skills that organizations which employ project managers deem highly competitive. This edition was also partly biased towards the relationship between project management and business value creation in that; the first three chapters were restructured to highlight it. This revision is vital in identifying the other faces of a project manager in leadership, strategic thinking and as a business expert. The guide also addresses the need to anticipate risks that are not event-driven. The introduction of the escalate risk response ensures that in the event risks occur that are beyond the project manager’s powers, one can increase it to a program or portfolio level (Naveed et al., 2017, p. 75). Further, to emphasize the need for accurate scheduling in project management, the Time management knowledge area was renamed to Schedule Management. Human Resource Management was rebranded to Resource management to broaden the scope. This procedure changes the perspective and includes all resources needed. They include equipment, Human Resources, and licenses.
Innovation is an essential aspect of very many spheres of life. Not only does it contribute to the bodies of knowledge through new ideas, but it also involves putting the ideas to work. The PMBOK Guide is an important first phase in the right direction for the project management sector since the guides have taken several steps to ensure innovation. The inclusion of interpersonal skills for project managers, engagement of stakeholders and agile project management has shown that the PMBOK is adapting to the needs of society in new and innovative ways. That is laudable. The developers of the PMBOK now need to focus on improving the guide to address the problems that have been brought about by the internet and diversity resulting from immigration. Through the internet, stakeholders have easy fixes for their project management needs. Diversity, on the other hand, presents cultural challenges that need to be addressed appropriately. Ultimately, any future guide should instruct project managers on how to not only embrace change in the field but also use that change to initiate future advancement to ensure that the project management field remains economically viable.

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