Exploring. Discovering. Defining. and Shaping the Future of Project Management

Article excerpt

How does a theory evolve into a solution?

How does a solution become a generally recognized practice?

How does a recognized practice become a standard?

The general answer to these questions can be summed up in the word "research"-coupled, of course, with good ideas and hard work.

Research is the essential driving force behind the evolution of project management. As with any profession, the project management body of knowledge is constantly being enhanced for its practitioners' use. It is ongoing research that keeps the knowledge base growing and adapting to a changing world.

The mission of the PMI Research Program is to be a catalyst for the expansion of the project management body of knowledge.

Research also helps PMI better serve its stakeholders and assists the PMI Board of Directors in its strategic planning. Reports by the PMI Research Department and the researchers it sponsors can be extremely useful for you, your career and your organization.

This special supplement looks at the state of research in the profession in general, and at the mission, role and progress of the PMI Research Program in particular.


Since 1997, PMI has maintained a dedicated research department for the purpose of promoting, supporting and disseminating project management research. Prior to the establishment of a fulltime paid staff, the Institute supported research activities only through the efforts of volunteers, who continue to have a vital role.

The department provides a connection to the research community with PMI-funded research grants. It also has the ability to publish new information resulting from PM!-sponsored research studies, research working sessions and research conferences.

Through synergistic partnerships with academic institutions and individual researchers worldwide, PMI continually promotes research into project, program and portfolio management knowledge and methodology, as well as the evolution of new standards for the profession. In this way, the research department supports the Institute's core purpose: To advance the practice, science and profession of project management throughout the world in a conscious and proactive manner.

Involvement in the Research Community

"The project management research community is located wherever project management research questions are being asked and answered-by universities and colleges, by researchers, professors and students, many of whom have employment as project managers or consultants alongside their academic activities," said PMI Research Department Manager Edwin J. Andrews, VMD, PhD.

"In addition, people who express interest in research results, and executives, are considered part of this community," he added. "As of now, PMI corresponds with over 12,000 individuals worldwide about its research activities, events and other offerings. We suspect that, in time, we may reach many more potential community members."

Making things happen for this community and other stakeholders is the PMI Research Department, a dedicated group of market researchers, research coordinators and market analysts. The staff is assisted by a Research Member Advisory Group consisting of six volunteers representing the practitioner, consultant and academic communities (see photos on supplement page 4).

This group guides the program with direction on choices for research emphasis. It also assists the staff with various researchrelated events, such as research working sessions and the biennial research conference.


How PMI Determines What Stakeholders Need

The market research group within the PMI Research Department collects and analyzes data to help the Institute design better programs, products and services.

From focus groups to member surveys, market assessment to strategic planning, the PMI market research group is continuously monitoring and analyzing current conditions within PMI, the project management community and the global marketplace as a whole. …