What’s missing from the PMBOK?
Don’t want to take my hippy new ager tree hugger word for it? Well, how about the US Army then?
I’ve been on Army contracts for a while now, though never served. So I was tickled when one of my ex-Army team members said I was like an Operations (Ops) Officer.
“Ops Officer? Really?”, I said, “What do they do?”
And he said with a twinkle in his eye, ‘Read FM-5 The Operations Process, you’ll love it.’
I’m a PM geek so anything with the word ‘planning’ it is is probably gonna make me happy but hey, I am really digging FM-5, which is the Army’s Operations Manual geared towards Ops Officers and commanders.
Back to visualization….Well, not just visualization but another concept, situational understanding, is new for me, actually.
“1-18. Situational understanding is the product of applying analysis and judgment to relevant information to determine the relationships among the mission variables to facilitate decisionmaking (FM 3-0). As commanders develop their situational understanding, they see patterns emerge, dissipate, and reappear in their operational environment. These patterns help them direct their own forces’ actions with respect to other friendly forces, civilian organizations, the enemy, the terrain, and the population. While complete understanding is the ideal for planning and decisionmaking, commanders accept they will often have to act despite significant gaps in their understanding.”
So think about that from a PM perspective. PMBOK trained PMs think in terms of Process and Knowledge areas, but this gaining situational understanding is a cognitive process; a way to think. FM-5 promotes mentally pulling together the whole situation, and then with all the pieces still forming in your head…FM-5 encourages a leader to visualize.
Another excerpt from FM-5
“2-53. Commander’s visualization is the mental process of developing situational understanding, determining a desired end state, and envisioning the broad sequence of events by which the force will achieve that end state (FM 3-0). First, commanders understand the conditions that make up the current situation. From this understanding, commanders next visualize desired conditions that represent a desired end state. After envisioning a desired end state, commanders then conceptualize an operational approach of how to change current conditions to the desired future conditions.”
To reiterate – these are all cognitive processes – ie, mental, in your head, ways to think, before you’ve done anything.
- Synthesize the facts – gain situational understanding.
- Visualize the end state.
- Develop a mental concept about how to operationalize the desired end state.
THEN – do stuff.
I just think that’s cool. And, on a the real, I could see these three steps laced throughout the Initiation and Planning Knowledge Areas in the PMBOK, or at least, given as guidance in the PMBOK guide. For me, adding cognitive processes could be a big win for the PMBOK.