The Project Management Institute has articulated 12 Project Management principles in the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition.
These 12 Project Management Principles include stewardship, teamwork, stakeholder engagement, value creation, systems thinking, leadership, tailored approaches, quality focus, managing project complexity, risk management, building adaptability and resiliency, and change management.
Stewardship refers to acting responsibly, with integrity, trustworthiness, and compliance.
Teamwork involves working collaboratively to achieve shared objectives.
Stakeholder engagement involves engaging stakeholders to contribute to project success.
Value creation involves maximizing value by focusing on outcomes.
Systems thinking focuses on taking a holistic view of a project.
Leadership involves adapting to the situation and demonstrating the desired behavior.
Tailored approaches involve adapting project development to the unique context of the project.
Quality focus involves meeting acceptance criteria and ensuring effective project processes.
Managing project complexity and risks involves identifying and addressing elements of complexity and risk.
Building adaptability and resiliency involves responding to changing conditions and recovering quickly from setbacks.
Finally, change management involves helping individuals, groups, and the organization transition from the current state to a future desired state.
Details on 12 Project Management Principles
Project stewards must act responsibly, maintain compliance with internal and external guidelines, and demonstrate a broad commitment to financial, social, and environmental impacts of the projects they support. They must have integrity, trustworthiness, and compliance and a holistic view of stewardship considers financial, social, technical, and sustainable environmental awareness. It encompasses responsibilities within and external to the organization.
Projects are delivered by project teams who work within organizational and professional cultures and guidelines, often establishing their own “local” culture. A collaborative project team environment facilitates alignment with other organizational cultures and guidelines, individual and team learning and development, and optimal contributions to deliver desired outcomes.
Stakeholders influence projects, performance, and outcomes. Project teams serve other stakeholders by engaging with them. Stakeholder engagement proactively advances value delivery. Engage stakeholders proactively and to the degree needed to contribute to project success and customer satisfaction.
Value is the ultimate indicator of project success, and it can be realized throughout the project, at the end of the project, or after the project is complete. Value and the benefits that contribute to value can be defined in quantitative and/or qualitative terms. A focus on outcomes allows project teams to support the intended benefits that lead to value creation. Project teams evaluate progress and adapt to maximize the expected value.
A project is a system of interdependent and interacting domains of activity. Systems thinking entails taking a holistic view of how project parts interact with each other and with external systems. Systems are constantly changing, requiring consistent attention to the internal and external conditions. Being responsive to system interactions allows project teams to leverage positive outcomes
Effective leadership promotes project success and contributes to positive project outcomes. Any project team member can demonstrate leadership behaviors. Leadership is different from authority. Effective leaders adapt their style to the situation. Effective leaders recognize differences in motivation among project team members. Leaders demonstrate desired behavior in areas of honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct.
Each project is unique, and project success is based on adapting to the unique context of the project to determine the most appropriate methods of producing the desired outcomes. Tailoring the approach is iterative and is a continuous process throughout the project. Design the project development approach based on the context of the project, its objectives, stakeholders, governance, and the environment using “just enough” process to achieve the desired outcome while maximizing value, managing cost, and enhancing speed.
Project quality entails satisfying stakeholders’ expectations and fulfilling project and product requirements. Quality focuses on meeting acceptance criteria for deliverables. Project quality entails ensuring project processes are appropriate and as effective as possible. Maintain a focus on quality that produces deliverables that meet project objectives and align to the needs, uses, and acceptance requirements set forth by relevant stakeholders.
Complexity is the result of human behavior, system interactions, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Complexity can emerge at any point during the project. Complexity can be introduced by events or conditions that affect value, scope, communications, stakeholders, risk, and technological innovation. Project teams can stay vigilant in identifying elements of complexity and use a variety of methods to reduce the amount or impact of complexity.
Individual and overall risks can impact projects. Risks can be positive (opportunities) or negative (threats). Risks are addressed continually throughout the project. An organization’s risk attitude, appetite, and threshold influence how risk is addressed. Risk responses should be appropriate for the significance of the risk, cost-effective, agreed to by relevant stakeholders, and owned by a responsible person.
Adaptability and Resilience:
To ensure project success, it is crucial to build adaptability and resiliency into an organization’s and project team’s approaches. Adaptability enables quick adjustments to changing conditions, while resiliency allows for quick recovery from setbacks. To achieve this, a focus on outcomes rather than outputs is recommended. This approach helps maintain flexibility and focus on the project’s goals and objectives. Overall, building adaptability and resiliency into an organization’s and project team’s approaches can help achieve the desired project outcomes, even in the face of challenges and setbacks.
To successfully manage a transition to a new future state, it’s important to prepare individuals and groups for the adoption of new behaviors and processes. Change can come from various sources and not all stakeholders may be receptive to it, so a structured approach to change management is recommended. It’s crucial to engage stakeholders and motivate them to embrace change to ensure success. Attempting too much change at once can lead to resistance or change fatigue, so a gradual approach is recommended.
In summary, successful project management requires a holistic approach that encompasses a range of principles and practices. This includes stewardship, collaborative teamwork, stakeholder engagement, a focus on value and outcomes, systems thinking, effective leadership, tailored project development approaches, quality management, navigation of complexity and risk, adaptability and resilience, and effective change management. By applying these principles and practices, project teams can deliver successful outcomes that meet the needs and expectations of stakeholders while maximizing value and minimizing risk.