The Praxis Framework is cited as the most integrated guide for project, programme and portfolio management (P3M). But what is it about the Praxis approach that deserves this accolade.
There are three main areas where Praxis provides levels of integration that other guides (or suites of guides) cannot provide. These cover: the ‘four pillars’ of P3M; the tools and techniques that support the four pillars; the spectrum of projects, programmes and portfolios.
Firstly, the four pillars. Praxis defines these as Knowledge, Method, Competence and Capability Maturity. Most guides deal with only one or two of these. None, other than the Praxis Framework, address all four with a common structure and terminology. Whether it be a function in the Knowledge section or a process in the Method section, there are tabs in the horizontal menu on the Praxis Framework website that describe how an individual can be competent and an organisation can be capable and mature in that same topic.
Secondly, as with all other guides, the topic descriptions include many references to tools and techniques that should be understood in order to perform competently. Because Praxis is web based, you don’t have to buy more books to look these up - you simply click on the link so that you are taken to the relevant entry in the integrated encyclopaedia.
Finally, the Praxis Framework combines projects, programmes and portfolios in a single guide. Elsewhere, these are typically supported by separate guides, and even if they are part of the same suite of guides from a single publisher, they are written by different teams. The result is usually different structures and conflicting terminology across projects, programmes and portfolios. But Praxis goes further than simply including project, programmes and portfolios in a single guide. It truly integrates them by explaining how these three concepts are simply points on a continuum. There are many initiatives that are part project/part programme (in relation to conventional definitions), and many elements of programme governance are shared by portfolio governance. You can read more about this idea here: https://www.praxisframework.org/en/resource-pages/projects-programmes-portfolios-and-the-discontinuous-mind.
Every relevant function and process within the Praxis Framework is split into two sections: General and Projects, programmes and portfolios. The first section explains the general principles of a topic (e.g. Risk management) and the second explains how the principles are adapted and applied differently as the complexity of the work increases from simple projects, through programmes to complex portfolios. The entire framework and its supporting resources are written in a consistent style, with a consistent structure in all sections and consistent terminology throughout.
These are the elements of the Praxis Framework that make it truly integrated and much more practical than any of the existing ‘best practice’ guides available. And that’s before we even get to the fact that it’s readily available on the internet and free under the terms of a Creative Commons licence - www.praxisframework.org.
Adrian Dooley is the lead author of the Praxis Framework™.
Originally a construction project manager, he became involved in the development of project planning software for PC's in the early 1980's. In 1984 he set up a training and consultancy company, The Projects Group, and ran that until its sale in 2008. Adrian was a founding member of Project Manager Today Magazine and Project Management Exhibitions Ltd. From 1996 to 2000, he served on the APM Council and during that period was the Head of Professional Development. A frequent author and commentator on Project Management, Adrian has been published in Professional Engineer, Computer Weekly and The Daily Telegraph amongst others.