Overview of PM Today

About the Course

This course provides an overview of project management today in six hours. It also offers individual participants a great chance to brush up their own practice.

The first generation of professional project managers aimed to build high-quality systems in a stable environment, informed by 20th Century frameworks, including the first editions of the PMBOK® Guide . The secret weapons of the profession were technical know-how, an esoteric set of concepts, processes, and tools, and expert communication across secure computer networks.

In the 21st century, the secret of that same professional community is to have no secrets. In the face of turbulent social contexts, it assumes that expertise, frameworks, and security are necessary for successful projects, but not sufficient. As a result, the today's practice has become more transparent, more collaborative, more values-driven, and, arguably, more productive. In a word, it has become "social".

Based on innovations in organizational governance, software development, and systems theory, project management today aims to engage an ever-wider spectrum of stakeholders, and to nurture teams that can build quality deliverables quickly, no matter how turbulent things get in and around the work. Managing projects has become a high-profile team sport, not unlike professional soccer. It has become a collaborative systems practice. Here you will have it: that practice, in a nutshell, but complete – for your continued learning – with references to the PMBOK® Guide, Scrum Guide and other authoritative sources.


Organizations in any economic sector with

  • project and operations managers
  • project sponsors, program, and/or portfolio managers
  • business trainers, coaches, instructors


  • interest in projects, project management, and/or sponsoring projects


6 Hours

Class Size

Maximum: 16 Participants


  • Provided: Workbook (c. 30 pages)


  • Individual Development Plan
    • customized during session
    • by individual, team, and/or organization


Project Management (PM) Know-how

  • Progressive Elaboration, Systems Modeling
  • Models of Local PM practice

20th Century Project Management

  • Cybernetic Systems Concepts
  • Cybernetics in technology, business, projects

The "Disruptive" 1990's

  • Wicked Problems
  • Ideal-seeking Systems Concepts
  • Applications in Lean, Learning Organizations, Knowledge Management
  • Agile Community, Practice, Manifesto

Project Management Today

  • Business Value, Governance
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • "Soft Skills" and Leadership
  • Agile Project Lifecycles (e.g. Scrum)
  • Continuous Product Discovery

Personalized Learning Plan


All Cogent Language courses are built according to a consistent design pattern: they have a learning path that is "cogent" to the needs of participants. We have found that, for our participants, a learning path is cogent when it is constructive, collaborative, cumulative, fast-paced, visual, and personal. Here's what makes this course cogent.


Participants each build a model of their own project management practice. They then walkthru a model of today's project management, highlighting gaps between it and their own mappings. Participant each identify gap(s) in their own practice that they care about and then tailor a continued learning path to reconstruct that practice.


Participants build their models and mappings in teams. Their walkthru of the model of today's project managemen and gap highlighting may also be cooperative.


In this course, the main learning activities are not topics presented by the instructor - they are tasks participants do. Each task builds on previous tasks and topics, with participants incorporating the work of teammates and accumulating team knowledge in a concrete product.


In order to frame, address, and relate the topics in the ambitious agenda above, the walkthrough moves quickly. For individual review and follow up, the course workbook provides a model of today's project management, with references to a range of pertinent resources.


Explanations and task work for the course are scaffolded by diagrams, tables, and other structural models in the class workbook and in the presentation of the instructor. The task-based learning process of the class makes extensive use of sketching and whiteboards.


For each group, the facilitator customizes agenda and interaction. Group size is kept small so individuals can benefit from coaching. By way of coaching and interaction, each participant can identify the gap(s) that s/he cares about. S/he can develop a continued learning plan to bridge these gaps by way of the templates in the workbook, including references to specific sources informing project management practice going forward.