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Getting Acquainted With PMI’s Wide Range of Standards

Defining Excellence Globally

467043563This is one of the articles I wrote while working as a Creative Services Account Executive at the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI quickly established themselves as leaders in project management with the publication of their first standard, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK(R) Guide), which is widely considered the de facto standard for project management.

The popularity of this initial text sparked the development of a respectable, considerable arsenal of materials that has expanded to include standards on people, organizations and programs in response to the needs of project managers worldwide.

As a project manager, you are probably already familiar with some of PMI’s global standards, which have 469775217evolved into an extensive and diverse library. Here is an overview of PMI’s wide and growing range of standards.

What is a Standard?
According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK(R) Guide)–Third Edition, a standard is a document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

Breaking that long definition into manageable chunks of information, the primary difference between standards and other project management texts is that standards are reviewed and approved by a team of subject matter experts (SMEs). PMI’s greatest source of SMEs is its vast and invaluable group of volunteers.

Each PMI standard is the product of a group of individuals who are currently working in the field of project management and have met PMI’s volunteer criteria. Each team consists of a project manager, deputy project manager core team and team members. The project teams are chartered to document the current generally accepted processes or practices for a given topic (i.e., create a standard or update an existing standard on a regimented four-year refresh cycle).

Standards Program Working Sessions are another way for PMI to probe the project management community, and for project management practitioners to network and share opinions with other professionals from all over the world. Participation in Standards Program Working Sessions could ultimately impact updates to existing standards or influence the development of future standards.

All standards in development are also made available via the PMI public Web site for an exposure draft period, which allows the public to review and make recommendations. Additions, deletions, or corrections are encouraged as part of the ongoing effort to solicit feedback from the project management community.

The PMBOK(R) Guide: Where It All Started

PMI’s signature standard, now in its third edition, has gained wide acceptance and has come to be regarded as the de facto global standard for project management. The PMBOK(R) Guide “put PMI on the map,” paved the way for future standards, and established credibility for the organization as a whole. PMI is now recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a Standards Development Organization.

Where Standards Are Focused Today

While PMI continues to update materials on project management, a number of new areas of interest have surfaced over time as PMI and the profession have evolved. As a result, PMI has developed new standards, which can be grouped loosely under four themes: programs, professions, organizations and people.

Focus on Programs

As the practice of project management grew, project managers  sought a standard that could speak to programs, or groups of “related  Read more…

Project Management Institute, PMI Today, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2005. Copyright and all rights reserved. Material from this publication has been reproduced with the permission of PMI