University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal


  • Darren Dalcher
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalPM World Journal
Journal publication dateMar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


Is it time to revisit our definitions of projects and programmes?
Definitions and assumptions play a key part in delimiting both knowledge and practice. Language is closely entwined with human life: Words and constructions and the way a language is used can shape what is seen and understood, defining what is acceptable and even possible.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass (1871)

The Humpty Dumpty theory of semantics holds sway in most societies and many
organisations and cultures. Words, symbols and concepts are endowed with additional meaning or associations, often derived from highly contextual, regional or vernacular sources, which can make a word mean precisely what the user wants it to mean.


Darren Dalcher, "Asking strategic questions: reflections on the temporal bounds of projects and programmes", PM World Journal, Vol. 5 (3), March 2016, Advances in Project Management Series. Available online at:

ID: 9932519