All too often, project managers are caught up in the dogma. After all, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide is a standard, right? As a standard, shouldn’t you be able to apply it like any other scientific, technological or engineering standard? That’s where the problem – and the opportunity – lies.
Yes, the PMBOK guide is a standard. It is also explicitly referred to as a “framework." It’s not meant to be applied as a set of instructions.
In other words, project management is as much an art as a science. The framework that the PMBOK Guide provides defines the space, gives a rich vocabulary and delivers a set of concepts derived from the collective knowledge of practitioners from around the world and in a wide range of situations that have one core thing in common – they manage projects.
Leveraging it is very useful, but you need to remember that there is an art to managing projects. The black and white framework more or less defines the space – like defining the scope – but everything in between is gray area.
The gray areas are where ethics comes into play.