“Project management as profession” remains a fraught subject (initial post here, survey here, survey results here). I doubt it ever will, at least not fully like law, medicine, or academia. Furthermore, I believe that because project management is essentially a social science — i.e., a discipline about human action — we will have persistent trouble in trying to settle debates with evidence and experimentation.
To that end, Jim Manzi provides a useful summary of the epistemic challenge faced by social sciences — what they do, don’t, and could (eventually) know. He sets up the problem in this excerpt below:
[W]e have no reliable way to measure counterfactuals—that is, to know what would have happened had we not executed some policy—because so many other factors influence the outcome. This seemingly narrow problem is central to our continuing inability to transform social sciences into actual sciences. Unlike physics or biology, the social sciences have not demonstrated the capacity to produce a substantial body of useful, nonobvious, and reliable predictive rules about what they study—that is, human social behavior….
As they say, read the whole thing.
Filed under: PMO Tagged: | City Journal, Jim Manzi, PMI, professionalization, professionalization of project management, professions, Researching the Value of Project Management, ROI, science, social science, Value of Project Management