Sorry, we don’t need Pure Project Managers

This was the response a friend received from a respected MNC. Before you think that this organization needs people who have “impure thoughts”, let me put it on context.

PM needs General Mgmt, Domain/Tech and other discplines

The opening was for a Project Manager to lead projects in building large E-learning courses and associated Learning Management systems. However, as my friend discovered, they needed people who had a background in Instructional Design and/or professional teaching experience! This sort of thing is sort of understandable in high-tech domains, but is becoming more widespread in web-based projects too.

This leads me to think that Project Management as a profession is in danger in the near future – either be tech-savvy enough to write a few lines of code for the project when falling behind or know the business enough to converse with the Business Analyst.

[Reminded me of the scene in the movie "Defiance" - when one of the newcomers to the camp early on is asked what he does, he replies "I am an intellectual". People look at him incredulously!]

What do you think? Can someone be just a Project Manager – someone who can handle an ERP project one day and a telecom project the next?

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  • Well, theoretically speaking project management is ‘generic’ art/science, however you are right that sense is building up in industries to hire Project-Manager+ rather than mere Project-Manager. This + could be technical proficiency, knowledge of the trade, business analysis skills etc.

  • In order to handle a project well, you need to have a sound knowledge of the industry. I have worked with several project teams from Europe and in majority cases their Project Managers perform critical coding tasks in addition to project management tasks. But PMs from Indian firms usually won’t do ground level tasks once they become PM. I think its important for the PM to have excellent technical/domain knowledge / skills.

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