Management Planning Function and Activities



Series on general management functions and activities, and their relevance to the management of projects
Article 2 of 7

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia



General management provides the foundation for building project management skills and is often essential for the project manager. On any given project, skill in any number of general management areas may be required. General management literature documents these skills, and their application is fundamentally the same on a project.                      (PMI 2004:15)

This lead quotation, which will head all the articles in this series, reflects the widely acknowledged importance of general management skills in the management of projects. Yet the coverage of such general management skills in the project management literature is rather uneven. Therefore, as is implied in the last sentence of the above quotation, project managers would need to access the general management literature to fill in gaps in their knowledge and skills.

However, the general management literature is very voluminous, and finding the sought-after materials not necessarily easy. This suggested to me that it could be useful to present an overview of basic general management materials, which might help project managers directly, and/or help guide them towards more detailed relevant materials. This is the main aim of this series.

Another aim is to look in a little more detail at various ways in which the functions and component activities of general management are relevant to the management of projects. I have tended to focus on materials I found to be most relevant/useful in over sixty years of experience in both general management and project management.

The first article of this series (Stretton 2015g) proposed a basic general management knowledge framework, based on traditional/ classical management materials as they developed up to around the mid-1980s.

Although there have been many developments in management literature and practice since then, this framework is still widely quoted today, and its materials still underlie most modern management practices. The main functions of this framework are summarized on the right.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles on general management principles applied to project management is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.


About the Author

pmwj36-Jul2015-Stretton-PHOTOAlan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)



Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 150 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.