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Common Ground in Other Disciplines

Project management theory espouses the creation of a shape and a frame of reference to particular pieces of work to be conducted. Ask any project manager about the biggest headaches in their field and invariably there can be only one response - 'scope creep'.

Scope creep is, as the name suggests, a shift or expansion of focus. It often occurs because work has not been described adequately or the customer feels that certain portions of work laid out within the plan are misaligned or do not address whatever new concerns have come to the fore. For any project to be managed effectively, tight reigns need to be kept on any changes, or the cart may soon careen off the path into the forest. The addition of even a single days' length to any activity noted on the Gantt chart can have significant cost and delivery implications.

Within academia there are a host of fields of knowledge, research and practice. Within each field there are more often than not a set of functions that concentrate exclusively on a number of particular specialisations. For instance within the field of Geography there are geomorphologists, climatologists, meteorologists, human settlement geographers, environmental geographers, cartographers, socialgeographers and the list grows everyday. Within each of these disciplines there may exist a number of prevailing views or theories that describe particular spatial and temporal interactions.

Quite intuitively academics in many fields have designed common ground for the areas of study under consideration. This is done through the creation of a language or a vocabulary pertaining to particular ideas that are distinct from one another e.g. alluvium - the sediments deposited through time by a riverine environment and colluvium - the sediment that slowly through time develops at the base of a hill or mountain having weathered from exposed formations in situ.

The terms refer to ideas or interactions that are known and for which consensus exists. From that consensual position the various parties can move forward to create a new language of consensus and solve and describe an ever greater ambit of interactions.

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January 2005