Project Management, A Process or Practice?

Is the work of project management a process or practice?

I think project management is both a work of process and practice, so what is the distinction?

A process focuses on being consistent and repeatable – you should be able to get predictable results from a process.

PMBOK has five process groups with ten knowledge areas intersecting those process groups for various project management stages.

Practice focuses on applying knowledge, judgment, and wisdom to achieve the desired outcome and dealing with changes. All project managers need to produce results by balancing the triple constraints: scope, time, and cost. Those constraints can often change during project execution.

A good project management practice established and executed by qualified personnel will bring the desired results, even with those limitations.

These days, just about everything we do requires a mix of process and practice. For example, implementing just the ITIL processes verbatim from the framework without applying the necessary effort on building an ITSM practice will just yield generalized, paper processes.

With the pace of changes picking up and the predictability of our environment shrinking, developing a practice is just as important as developing the required processes.