Potential for project management representative bodies


to extend their influence in helping solve

global problems



By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


In a recent article in this journal (Stretton 2021b), prompted by Pells’ editorial “Project management needs a higher purpose” (Pells 2021), I discussed possibilities for “… extending the scope of project-related management to help address climate change and other global problems”. However, I did not discuss what entities could or should be tasked with overseeing such extensions, and ensuing involvements.

In the concluding section of his editorial, Pells points out that “there is no organisation that represents the entire PM professional world”, and that therefore a “top-down” “higher purpose” movement is not currently feasible.

Whilst this may be so, I believe that the mainstream project management (PM) representative bodies are in a position to play a prominent role in facilitating the involvement of a range of existing PM-related services in helping tackle global issues – if they should choose to extend their influence in this way.

I am using the descriptor “PM-related” to describe services which extend beyond the scope of conventional project management services – particularly towards the “front end” – which have been provided by certain project management service organisations for many decades, but which are seldom discussed in the publications of most PM representative bodies.

The main purpose of this article is to explore the potential of the latter to facilitate the involvement of PM-related services in tackling global problems, as well as the involvement of the more conventional PM services.


The basic framework used in this article, shown in Figure 1 below, is based on an embryonic framework first proposed in Stretton 2021b, which linked possible basic global-issue facilitating processes with various PM-related categories. I have amended some of the descriptors in each group, and have divided these into three project-related sectors, to facilitate discussions on possibilities for project management representative bodies to help solve global problems. I have labelled these sectors Pre-project operations, Including project operations, and Post-project.

On the project management side, I have retitled the PM-related categories as “Relevant existing PM & extended PM-related services”.

Figure 1: A basic discussion framework – Linking existing PM & extended PM-related services with possible basic global-issue facilitating processes

We will discuss each of the five sets of basic global-issue processes and relevant PM services in the descending order shown in Figure 1. Although the two processes in the “Pre-project operations” sector are the furthest removed from traditional project management services, there are some well-tried existing PM-related services which could be very relevant to the early global-issue processes, in certain contexts.

These services, which include FEL (Front End Loading) and CND (Client Needs Determination), are covered to varying extents in the broader project management literature, but not in that of most PM representative bodies. Possibilities for the latter to adopt and/or advocate use of some of these services in the global-issue context will be discussed.

In the “Including project operations” sector, both the global-issue processes and relevant PM services share strong common attributes. The relevant project management services are strongly represented in the publications of most PM representative bodies, which are therefore well placed to help with global problems, as will be further discussed.

Finally, we will look at the bottom “Post-project” sector, which will be concerned with how PM representative bodies might be able to influence appropriate PM involvement in helping users of project and other outputs to help achieve desired results, in the context of global issues.

We now look at each of these three sectors in turn.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this article: Stretton, A. (2021). Potential for project management representative bodies to extend their influence in helping solve global problems; PM World Journal, Volume X, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/pmwj106-Jun2021-Stretton-potential-for-PM-representative-bodies-to-help-solve-global-problems.pdf

 About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)


Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 230 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.