Are we being Duped by the Experts?
Selling Current Knowledge as Breaking News


by Harvey A. Levine

California, USA

During the past few months I have been astounded by information imparted by two leading and widely respected management consulting firms. In both cases, these firms had published papers and issued executive reports purporting to offer leading-edge thinking regarding project portfolio management. Having a strong personal investment in the subject, as a past expounder-in-chief, I looked with interest for the messages that were being conveyed. In both cases, I found myself totally in agreement with the gist of the message, but equally dismayed that what was alleged to be “breaking news” had been common knowledge for a long time.

Not that it is entirely unusual for someone to survey a field of knowledge and publish their findings in a paper or academic thesis. I have done that for several decades, in books and papers. But my publications do not lay claim to any special, advanced knowledge or insights, other than to present information in an organized and structured manner or to influence the reader to a particular point of view.

What startled me about these two instances was the attempt to make the findings sound worthy of a Nobel Prize for discovery.


In the first of the two incidences, Forrester Research resorts to this $100 word – bifurcation – to make astounding discovery #1. The title of the finding is “PPM Now Has Two Distinct Segments: Planning and Execution.” Stop the presses! They just found out that the world is round.

The reality is that this distinction was observed in the earliest dissertations on PPM, actually going back to the 20th century. A number of articles, solicited by Pennypacker & Dye for their 1999 book “Project Portfolio Management: Selecting and Prioritizing Projects for Competitive Advantage” discussed the stages of PPM as including building the portfolio and managing the portfolio. This was also mentioned in one of my earliest articles on PPM, which was republished in the subject book. Managing the portfolio was also a frequent subject (along with the planning aspects) in the 2003 Kendall and Rollins book “Advanced Project Portfolio Management and the PMO.”


To read entire article (click here)

About the Author

harvey-levine-bioflag-usaHARVEY LEVINE

Author, Expert, Consultant

Fellow, Former President & Chair – PMI

Harvey Levine, PMI Fellow and well-known project management (PM) author and consultant, is one of the most widely respected authorities on the subject of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and PM software and practices in the United States. He is a leading advocate and mentor in the expanding field of Project Portfolio Management and is a pioneer in defining and teaching PPM methods and practices. Harvey is a Principal with The Project Knowledge Group, a PM consultancy based in California.  A former President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Harvey A. Levine has over 50years of PM experience, including nearly 25 years with the General Electric Company. In 1986, Mr. Levine founded The Project Knowledge Group, a consulting firm specializing in building PM competencies and providing guidance, training and services related to PM and Project Portfolio Management. Harvey Levine is one of the leading consultants to the PM software industry in the USA. He has provided evaluation, feedback and product development services to dozens of the leading vendors in this field.  Mr. Levine has also been recognized as a PM software industry watchdog, and a PM software “guru” for his knowledge, understanding, and insights regarding both vendor and user issues.  He still provides PM consulting services to a wide variety of businesses in both the private and government sectors. Mr. Levine has been Adjunct Professor of Project Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Boston University in the United States. He also conducts lectures, workshops & seminars at other schools, symposia and organizational meetings; and in-house seminars and training sessions for corporate clients. Mr. Levine is the author of three books: “Project Portfolio Management: A Practical Guide to Selecting Projects, Managing Portfolios, and Maximizing Benefits” (Jossey-Bass, 2005); “Practical Project Management: Tips, Tactics, and Tools” (John Wiley & Sons 2002); and “Project Management using Microcomputers” (Osborne/ McGraw-Hill 1986).  He is a frequent contributor to various technical and software publications on PM, and was feature editor of the PM Software Forum in PMI’s Project Management Network magazine, for 13 years. He contributed chapters to several important PM books, including Project Management Handbook (2nd Ed. – VNR), Handbook of Project Management (AMA), and The Field Guide to Project Management (VNR). He has published over 275 articles and whitepapers on PM in the past 20 years, and now does a weekly blog on PPM topics. Mr. Levine served as President and Chairman of the Board of PMI during 1985-86, received PMI’s Distinguished Contribution to Project Management award in 1989, and was elected a Fellow of PMI in 1998.  Harvey can be contacted at [email protected].  Additional information about Harvey Levine can be found on his website at http://theprojectknowledgegroup.sharepoint.com