Knowledge, method, competence and maturity - can we achieve the holy grail?

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Project management is well served with bodies of knowledge, methodologies and other guides that give those new to the discipline a starting point for learning. They also provide useful points of reference for experienced practitioners and a framework for implementing project management across an organisation.

There are three things that have always frustrated me about these publications.

Firstly, none of them cover the whole picture. They tend to focus on either knowledge, method, competence or maturity. Some address two of these but rarely three and never all four.

Secondly, they all use different terminologies and structures. I admit to having been one of those consultants who used to make a living out of mapping one guide against another and adapting them to fit with each other. But surely theres a better way.
Finally, too many of these basic guides are constrained by copyright and commercial protection. We live in a world where access to large amounts of information is free. Ive always felt that if the fundamentals were free, we would open peoples minds to where the real value lies in the adaptation of basic principles to specific contexts.

Two years ago, and after many years of talking about these ideas, I decided to do something about it.

The result is what I call the Praxis Framework. Praxis is an attempt to cover all four areas of knowledge, method, competence and maturity. Theres a body of knowledge (closely based on the APM Body of Knowledge 6th edition) that defines the discipline of project, programme and portfolio management and a method that provides guidance on process and documentation. Alongside these are a competency framework and a capability maturity model that mirrors the structure of the knowledge and method sections.

The aim is that the whole framework uses a consistent terminology and taxonomy. No mapping, no adaptation of the different sections to make them work together. It is supported by a library of resources that I hope will grow with contributions from experienced practitioners who adapt and extend the basic framework to match the needs of different cultures, industries and situations.

The Praxis Framework was born out of a personal frustration and my belief that you could bring together all four components. However, project management is forever evolving and the intention is for the framework to evolve with emerging practice; please have a look at www.praxisframework.org.

If you have comments and observations or wish to provide material that will be useful to fellow professionals, please contact me at info@praxisframework.org

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Posted by Adrian Dooley on 30th Apr 2014

About the Author
Originally a construction project manager, I became involved in the development of project planning software for PC's in the early 1980's. In 1984 I set up a training and consultancy company, The Projects Group, and ran that until its sale in 2008. I was a founder member of Project Manager Today Magazine and Project Management Exhibitions Ltd. From 1996 to 2000, I served on the APM Council. During that period I was the Head of Professional Development and was appointed to the Board of APM Group Ltd. I am now semi-retired but remain on the Board of APM Group. I was heavily involved in the development of the 6th edition of the APM Body of Knowledge and have drawn on that experience to create an integrated framework for P3 management at www.praxisframework.org.

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