Chapter 1 – Introduction to Project Management for Human Resources

1.5. Science and Art of Project Management and Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Science of Project Management

Project management has been around for centuries, if not millennia. From the building of the pyramids to the construction of the great buildings of 19th century London, people have developed ways to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable chunks, schedule the work and obtain the materials needed for the projects. During that time, many tools were developed to manage projects. However, it was not until the large, highly complex defence projects undertaken by the United States during the 1950s drove a push for a more scientific and data-driven, management approach to projects and was the beginning of the science of modern-day project management.

HR in Focus

Project management for HR professionals improves effectiveness and productivity for the HR department, the entire company and its employees.  Project management improves workflow and processes.  HR project management has never been more important than in today’s work world. Wise hiring, managing the changing work culture, and day-to-day operations are all project management priorities.

The Art of Project Management

The art of project management is specific to the skills that are used in projects.  When communication and managing people are the priority, this would be the ‘art.’  Even though the logistics of assumptions, planning, design, and scheduling are considered the ‘science,’ these components could not be managed in a scientific method. They are guided by the project manager’s and team’s skills and experience.


In-depth Look

Project Management Institute

The Project Management Institute (PMI) started in 1969 in Atlanta, Georgia as a non-profit organization to share best practices. Today, it is a non-profit organization with over 500,000 members. PMI has chapters throughout the world, each offers additional benefits in the form of professional development and networking opportunities (Project Management Institute, n.d.).

The idea of PMI was developed by the founders Ned Engman, James Snyder, Susan Gallagher, Eric Jenett, and J Gordon Davis while having dinner (Bena, 2019). The idea was to have an organization solely for project managers to exchange ideas and share. The idea was later actualized into an institute (PMI), and articles of incorporation were filed and signed in Pennsylvania (Weber, 2018). The roles of PMI are setting standards for ethics in project management; and training and certification in areas of project management (Bena, 2019).

In the 1960’s the only disciplines that engaged in project management were defence, construction, and aerospace (Weber, 2018). PMI’s roots are based on these industries. Today, PMI is multi-disciplinary and covers a wide spectrum of disciplines. By 1980, PMI set its standards through a Professional Liaison Committee, Research Policy and Education Committees, American National Standards Committee and Europe’s International Project Management Association (Bena, 2019). Later in 1996, project management procedures were developed, and Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) created. PMI continues to challenge project management professionals to quickly adapt to the changing industry practises and technologies as they deliver value to organizations (Project Management Institute, 2022).

PMI started creating industry standards. This was achieved via a Professional Liaison Committee, which worked with Technology, Research Policy, and Education Committees. Trainings and certification in project management is offered by the institute. The institute puts forward standards and ethics in the industry (Weber, 2018).

PMI suggests for a project-oriented company, human resources management is critical and strategic. The involvement of Human Resources is dynamic as its changes whenever a different project is launched. Different and new techniques are needed from conventionally managed businesses in this changing setting. Human Resources management is very key, and it must have support of management. Human Resources helps with designing policies, procedures and guidelines in a project-oriented manner within an organization. It is critical for Human Resources professionals to collaborate with all stakeholders in gathering information that will help in coming up with the guidelines for the organization and for projects.

Class of 2022 Contributions:  Arekhandia Okojie, Linda Adegoke, Purity Maondo, Wuraola Odesanya, Mourya Millian Sahoo

The PMI has codified the standards for project management in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide.

The PMBOK guide is organized into nine knowledge domains:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Stakeholder Management

(Project Management Institute, 2022)

Managing a project includes identifying your project’s requirements and writing down what everyone needs from the project. What are the objectives for your project? When everyone understands the goal, it’s much easier to keep them all on the right path. Make sure you set mutually agreed upon goals to avoid team conflicts later on. Understanding and addressing the needs of everyone affected by the project means the end result of your project is far more likely to satisfy your stakeholders. Last but not least, as project manager, you will also be balancing the many competing project constraints.