The PMBOK 4th edition, page 73, mentions that, thanks to the develop project charter process, a partnership is born between executor (performing organization) and receiver (requesting organization). This implies that several people – a team in other words – are necessary for project management to be viable, at least from the project execution point of view. Apparently, a one person team executor is not OK under the PMBOK.

Here is the PMBOK quote:


Develop Project Charter is the process of developing a document that formally authorizes a project or a phase and documenting initial requirements that satisfy the stakeholders' needs and expectations. It establishes a partnership between the performing organization and the requesting organization (or customer, in the case of external projects).


Let's say that the project's product (it's final result) is nothing but a researched SCHOLAR book with such vast a scope that not even an awesome methodology such as KATIE TURABIAN's will be capable of managing the time I would need to juggle work, family, career and personal time.

Bottom line: the result is indeed small (a book) but the result's scope is so large (book volumes) that I would need to treat it as a project under the PMBOK. It's not a book you can finish in less than 10-15 years.

However, as with most books, it is best they are researched, argued, drafted and proofed by a single person, maybe only edited, published and marketed by a third party.

If you accept this, can I refrain from searching for a sponsor and forming a PM execution team?

You can imagine the project's initiation charter will have no signatures since it is only towards my own self that a duty will emerge in the sense of producing the book, regardless of the fact that I also need to have in consideration the project's stakeholder needs.

  • Interesting question, Antonio. As David suggests, can you please post the relevant, quoted text from the PMBoK? Remember, not everyone owns a copy, and we want your question to be useful to future visitors as well. Think of this as your way to give back to the community, even if you're only asking questions. :) Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Oct 19, 2012 at 1:11
  • The PMBOK is always tailored to the needs of the project. The goal is to close the project successfully, not to adhere to any guidance. Having said that, I think that you're not the only stakeholder. The readers, the publisher, the editor, possibly your agent are all stakeholders, and it may be worthwhile to involve them in a charter like process. Quite frankly in a project this size, your family are stakeholders, and I'd be tempted to get their formal signature on the charter.
    – MCW
    Oct 19, 2012 at 10:45
  • Thank you everyone for your answers. Mark, I specially thank you, but I feel it would be too much to have my wife, child, parents, etc. sign the charter. I have contemplated 13 stakeholders if you care to know. David Espina, also I thank you, but I believe that PMBOK language should be a bit more complete with providing exceptions to general knowledge procedures. All that matters is – as I understand from you and Mark – to use the PMBOK as a goal achieving tool, not as the sole truth. Oct 19, 2012 at 13:59
  • Probably should be. It does evolve. Oct 19, 2012 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


You should quote the text in the PMBoK that you are referencing and include the version.

A single person can certainly execute a project. There is a difference between roles and people. For a single person project, that person plays many roles...all of them required, in fact: sponsor, PM, technical lead, laborer, procurement official, project controls, risk manager, quality manager, financial manager, customer, and on and on.

So, think about the language in the PMBoK and infer, instead, multiple roles versus humans. Does this change your interpretation?

  • If what you say is that I must accept multiple roles, then I certainly do so. But the PMBOK language does not make place for such interpretations since it mentions "organizations", i.e. multiple persons working towards a common goal. Oct 18, 2012 at 23:40
  • I think the PMBOK is written to the expected audience and thus the language would be consistent with the types of projects its expected audience would implement. I don't think it excludes other types of projects. The interpretation needs to be less literal. Further, it is a body of knowledge, not the sole source of truth. Oct 19, 2012 at 4:57
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    Quick clarification (more for Antonio's benefit)- the actual title is a "Guide" to the PMBoK, and it expressly states that this is because the entire PM BoK can't be contained in a book. So to David's point, less literal implementation, more judgement. :) Oct 19, 2012 at 17:07

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