In Step with Projects

In Pace with Progress

PROJECTICS: Call of the Times


Author: Qian Fupei     Translator: Yu Yanjuan     Source: PMR
The establishment of a new discipline should have its own definition and research objects, a theoretical system established through careful research, a logical starting point and disciplinary approach that can deal with new questions, new situations and new challenges, and the ability to demonstrate newly-developed fields and scientific levels.

The concept of "PROJECTICS" was put forward more than 20 years ago. Over this period, project management has developed vigorously in China. Entrepreneurship & Innovation and development & transformation based on projects have increasingly become the leading force of organizational growth, economic development and social progress. However, it’s generally believed among the current international project management community that project management does not have its own fundamental theory.

As the only multi-industry project management non-profit professional organization in China, PMRC has been organizing project research and promoting project discipline construction, which is of practical significance. Through a series of relevant research, we hope to reveal the intrinsic characteristics and the generation and development laws of various projects, to deeply understand the interaction between different project lifecycle stages, disciplines and the development environment, to lay a theoretical foundation for the discipline of project management, and to present a new perspective for the development of related disciplines.

Changes Lead to PROJECTICS
Rapid development across the globe has provided an extremely broad stage for project management. Both developed and developing countries have accelerated their progress around economic and cultural construction. Even the least developed countries are fighting against poverty and diseases. All of these are accomplished through a specific task, which is what we call a "project". A project is a temporary task required to accomplish a specific goal under limited conditions. The establishment of any project has its specific objectives. In a broad sense, this goal is expressed as "product" or "service" delivered at project closure. We can see that the extension of the project is extensive, ranging from the construction of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River to the organization of a technical transformation and other activities.

“Project" can refer to either a specific project or a group of projects. "Activity" can refer to either project activities in general or activities in different phases of a project lifecycle. Therefore, people can explain or understand project management from different categories and perspectives.

Since the 1990s, project management developed rapidly. With the rapid growth in the number of projects, it is necessary to study the coordinated development between different projects, between projects and the environment, and between the input and output of projects and project benefits evaluation.

With the formation of the new global market competition pattern, projects undergo huge changes: the type and number of projects increase greatly and the scale, cycle and complexity of projects vary considerably from one project to another.

However, to our regret, there is no comprehensive discipline in project management field with such a wide range of industry coverage and a long history of practice. Though there are lots of works on the topic of project management, what most of them study is specific project problems from a certain industrial or management angle rather than the common feature of projects. Such a situation will do no good to the development of projects and project management. 

The changes of projects are complex and often involve many kinds of changes. It is these changes that make people face enormous challenges. Therefore, it is of great urgency to carry out research on PROJECTICS.

PROJECTICS is a discipline that studies the attributes, classification, characteristics, formation and development pattern of projects. It does research on formation and development pattern of both individual projects and group and overall projects. Besides, the task of PROJECTICS also includes studying how to develop and manage projects, that is, to guide and manage project development with scientific management theories and methods. 

In recent years, global academic circles have paid great attention to the development trend of project management. Generally speaking, the basic contents of PROJECTICS can be divided into the following two branches: Basic PROJECTICS and Applied PROJECTICS.

Basic PROJECTICS studies the common problems of various projects and theoretical issues of project development, such as project definition, nature, classification, dynamic mechanism, lifecycle, disciplinary basis and related disciplines and system structure research. In addition, as the project itself is very practical, countries around the world all have a long history and rich practical experience and achievements in project management, so the study of project history should also be included in Basic PROJECTICS. 

The focus of Applied PROJECTICS is how to make projects develop and accomplished as requested in a healthy and coordinative manner on the basis of theoretical research. To explore PROJECTICS from the perspective of application is wide-reaching. Longitudinally, projects have different levels, such as international projects, national projects, local projects, etc. Horizontally, projects have different scales and complexities, and in terms of time periods, projects have different lifecycles. Therefore, Applied PROJECTICS covers a wide range of research topics from different levels, different perspectives and different periods.

The application level is developed on the basis of the basic level, and the problems arising on the application level are fedback to the relevant fields of the basic level, which makes the basic research of PROJECTICS more substantial and perfect. There are still some gaps in these two levels to be supplemented and developed.

The establishment of a new discipline is a tough and slow-paced task. It is also a process of continuous exploration and gradual improvement. It requires the hard work of several generations of experts and scholars. The establishment of PROJECTICS is an essential task entrusted to us by the times, and also our due contribution to the times.

About the Author: 
Qian Fupei, is now Honorary President of International Project Management Institute of Northwestern Polytechnical University and Honorary Director of Project Management Research Committee, China(PMRC). He is known as the first person to put forward and establish Chinese Project Management Body of Knowledge. He also proposes the concept of project science(PROJECTICS) and concept model. 
In 1991, he initiated the founding of PMRC. In 1996, he led PMRC to be a member of IPMA. In 2001, he introduced the certification of IPMP. He was once the vice president of IPMA from 2005-2010 and the president of Certification Committee of PMI from 2001 to 2010.

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