Let us expand on the question: how to build a universal methodological approach, for managing projects that is flexible enough to adjust for project type, domain, classification, or a learning platform (international standard)?
First, let us include some definitions.
A few definitions
The intent for the use of the word ‘universal’ is that the approach is not limited to one international organization, like PMI, IPMA, GPM, or others. Rather, it uses elements from all to come up with a robust approach that is scalable to project classification, tailored to an organization environment, expandable to consider more than the core elements of project life cycle and processes. We trust this concept will be apparent by the end of this post.
Method or Methodology
Method or Methodology?
This is a highly debated topic, and the terms are often used interchangeably, although this is not 100% correct. In general, a method is “a particular procedure for accomplishing or approaching something”, a specific way of doing something; usually systematic – step-by-step. On the other hands, a methodology is “a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.” In other words, a methodology is the study of methods. To be a bit academic (although I prefer to be practical) we need to define the terms here.
Therefore, based on this understanding, and other information, the author recognizes that for a given situation, a particular project context, we will have a method. However, in the context of this post, we are talking about a management approach that is not restrictive or limited to a given project context. This approach is universal, customizable and adaptable, a “system of methods used in a particular area of study,” then methodology is the appropriate term for what we are proposing here.
A project type in this context of this article refers to a type of work, marketing, financial, training, or similar types of projects.
A project domain in this context of this article refers to an industry like technology, telecom, real estate, petroleum and similar projects.
Within a particular type and domain, we could also classify projects based on size, complexity, and other factors. This past article expands on this topic and the next image shows a brief comparison.
Learning platform refers to international organizations and their approaches to managing projects. For example,
- PMI’s PMBOK® Guide focuses on processes and functions (knowledge areas).
- PRINCE2 offer a method and what we present here is in direct competition with PRINCE2
- IPMA has Individual Competence Baseline and now Organizational Competence Baseline, so their focus is competence.
- GAPPS, an organization that does not offer certifications also focus on competence.
- GPM Global, strength is on sustainability and have a method for integrating sustainability in project management.
- There are many other organizations that are more specialize like AACE International focusing on cost and planning, SAVE International focusing on value engineering, and others.
Principles of building a method(ology)
For us, we believe a proper method (methodological approach) must incorporate the following:
- A project life cycle – that is customized, tailored to the project type and domain.
- A set of project management processes to apply along the phases and stages of the project life cycle.
- Deliverables and gates that would be applicable in every stage and phase.
The above will be the foundation and will result in a fundamental methodological approach. To build on the above and ensure we have a truly universal approach we need to add:
- Consideration of project classification; one-size-fits-all DOES not work.
- Incorporating other dimensions such as competence, sustainability, and other factors.
The following SUKAD Model offer such an approach. We have written about CAM2P
The SUKAD CAM2P
The SUKAD CAM2P
We see CAM2P
The first dimension
The first dimension is the project life cycle – the horizontal dimension that helps us take a project from idea to closure (and beyond). The project life cycle consists of phases, stages, deliverables, and project gates as you can see from the image (based on the 2nd generation).
The second dimension
The second dimension is the vertical dimension of the project life cycle. This is the application of the PMBOK® Guide or ISO process groups along the project life cycle in every stage or phase. SUKAD, for the CAM2P
Image 4 displays the SUKAD modified version. For more information on this topic refer to other articles on planning on this blog site.
This fourth image – integrate the first two dimensions.
The third dimension
The third dimension consists of layers – layers that could be implemented along the project life cycle and the processes. These layers are what help us move from a fundamental methodological approach and transform it to a highly sophisticated and robust system. We believe that what we propose here is what would make the difference and help organizations achieve a higher level of maturity.
What are these layers:
Managing across the stages
In standard documents like ISO 21500 or PMBOK® Guide, we learn about functions and knowledge areas through processes that are often in isolation of a project life cycle. We learn about estimating, risk, scheduling, WBS, staffing and other topics. However, what is missing is how these topics relate to the different stages of the project life cycle. For example: do we have one estimate or more? If more when and for what purpose? Is risk management during the feasibility is the same as within implementation? In term of process, they are the same but in term of big picture, function, and purpose, they are not the same.
Therefore, this layer is very general and is about applying the various project management functions across the project life cycle. This layer can be integrated with the first dimension but we split it out since we are keeping the first layer focus on the concept of defining the project life cycle, phases, stages, deliverables, and gates.
In today’s business environment organizations must move toward sustainable business and since project management is about change – sustainable change is a necessity for humanity. GPM® Global have developed a method called PRiSM
If we study a project life cycle only or process groups only, it is good but not good enough. Competence is about demonstrating the ability to do something well and repeating the process. Many organizations are implementing a methodology for project management today they stop at the life cycle or the project groups. We need to build on this by incorporating a professional development program based on a competency development framework.
There are two general categories of competence to consider – product oriented competence; this would be the technical expertise, which varies along the project life cycle based on the phase and stage. These are core areas outside project management.
The other category is project management competence. For this, there are many organizations that offer us tools and standards to learn. IPMA and GAPPS focus on general project management competence. IPMA certifications are also based on competence. There are also the specialist organizations with emphasis on certain topics such estimating, planning, control, value management, quality management, and other areas.
In some industries, like capital projects (with engineering and construction) there are a set of best practices that happens across the stages. These include topics such as constructability, change management, zero incident, and other topics. Therefore, best practices implementation is another layer that one can apply for these projects.
Could we add other layers? Yes, sure. Technically every project management function could be a layer, but we think this is covered under competence, as long as we ensure that Competence is not general, but it goes deep into the other areas.
The following image is a preliminary consideration for the third generation of CAM2P
What we are proposing here; we are using these principles in our CAM2P
This is the third generation for CAM2P
 Same reference