Since there is not other SE-community on management I ask this here, but I am happy to be guided somewhere else.

Even though there a different definitions of what a project is, they all have in common that projects have a start and an ending. But for example working in or managing retail does not necessarily fit into this description (since it is a continuous process).

Is there an equally organised community of managers who do not work as project managers? How do the good practices differ from project management?

What is the umbrella term for non-project management? Does there exist a PMBOK-syle reference guide for this kind of management?

4 Answers 4


The beauty of Project Management is that it could either be at the Top level or can be plugged-in to any other Management domain to streamline its process seamlessly.

Retail management as you rightly highlighted involves higher level of Customer management and Sales Management and not just Project Management.

In short, you are looking at a book that could help you acquire the "general management" principles.

I had an opportunity reading this highly popular book on General Management by John P. Kotter, that could provide insights on how an individual can learn and build the right mindset to be on the top of the things.

You could very well consider this as the Book of Knowledge for General Management. Hope this helps you.

  • 1
    I thought as well that PM can be plugged into different places, but than I thought, why does PMI and all the others put so much effort in defining what a "project" is. Basically I would like to prevent me from seeing nails (Projects) everywhere now that I know how to use a Hammer (PM).
    – rul30
    Dec 30, 2017 at 10:51
  • Yup, you are right. PMI's job is to evangelize PM as the prospect and based on the problem, you could use it either as a Nail or as a Hammer. Yup, nail or hammer.... that was a good one, though.
    – Devasuran
    Dec 30, 2017 at 12:12

Is there an equally organised community of managers who do not work as project managers?

Sure. Try Business operations.

Project Management means different things to different people and industries in fact. I recommend the definition by PMBOK:

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Project Management takes care of the intent. Project Leadership takes care about the people of the project.

What is the umbrella term for non-project management?

Program Management governs Project Management, but for Non-project Management, I recommend you search for Business Administration, Organizational topics, etc.

  • First part of definition from PMI: "A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources." Jan 13, 2018 at 21:45

Generally the counterparts to Project Managers are 'Functional' Managers. 'Project' Managers deal with one-off, temporary projects, and generally cross functional lines. Sort of 'jack of all trades, masters of none.

Functional Managers deal with that - business functions (HR, Ops, Finance, Logistics, etc.). These are 'specialist' managers, generally being VERY knowledgeable about their particular function, but not as well versed in others.


Look at kanban and lean from manufacturing.

  • Lean follows the proverb - Prevention is better than Cure. Kanban immensely helps in controlling the inventory in a supply chain. Both are process based approach. Both are very good candidates for Retail Management but as a process perspective. What is your thought?
    – Devasuran
    Dec 30, 2017 at 12:24
  • Maybe my question was not phrased specific enough. But to me it seems if I am able to put a process into kam an it is much more a project than a non-project, right? And Lean is a good tool everywhere in projects and non-projects.
    – rul30
    Dec 30, 2017 at 18:15
  • I see lean as a focus on reducing waste and kanban as understanding flow through a system. Both are great for non-project work. Using a kanban board to understand then analyze a system in terms of lean's wastes is very effective regardless of the market/business/context. There are communities, both large and local, for learning and sharing. Jan 3, 2018 at 16:17

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