As a relatively new management discipline, project management (PM) knowledge continues to grow and evolve. The venerable PM Body of Knowledge which guides our discipline is currently in its 5th edition with the 6th edition of the PMBOK Guide currently in development and anticipated to be released in 2017.
From the first edition back in 1996, the PMBOK has been a distillation of “best practices” from the various standards, textbooks and gurus which have helped to establish the PM discipline. Now, with each new edition of PMBOK following (roughly) a four-year release cycle, our dynamic discipline is maturing.
The intriguing question that raises is how do we decide what goes into future editions of PMBOK?
There will be a need for greater rigor to ensure that the PM approaches we advocate and apply are in fact the appropriate ones. To be a respected discipline, we need to have evidence that our methods actually work and are not simply best guesses, or guided by the most popular post on LinkedIn. This is not to discount the validity or value of the intense debates that practitioners have on the validity of different techniques – that just shows how vibrant and exciting our discipline is. But we clearly need to find ways of identifying what actually works in practice – rather than just sounds like a good idea.
And that is where researchers have a critically important role to play in establishing PM as an integral and active discipline for strategic execution.
PM research can help us link to other Bodies of Knowledge, which in turn can make clear the contribution our discipline can make, and individually help each of us be respected in our role.
The PMI recognizes research as a key part of the discipline’s evolution and actively encourages interaction between PM academics and practitioners.
Now, as part of PMIAC17, we all have a chance to be a part of the discourse between academics and practitioners. The inaugural PMIAC17 Research Track provides a great opportunity for academics to present their latest research to an audience comprising of PM practitioners from a range of industries.
So the call to action is for all those academics and practitioners interested in advancing the PM discipline to write and submit a paper to the PMIAC17. And in that way, you, and those attending PMIAC17, can contribute to the development of new practices that may become a part of future editions of the PMBOK.