Project Managers’ Knowledge of their Project Field

Posted on December 14, 2009 by

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How much knowledge of their project field should a Project Manager have? I enjoy asking people this question and have received a wide variety of responses. I have had colleagues tell me that they are true project managers and because the tools of project management are the same across different fields they are comfortable managing projects in any discipline—IT, manufacturing, research, etc. Other project managers (who typically primarily identify themselves not as project managers, but as engineers or researchers) are using their specialized knowledge of their field and would not consider managing a project outside their area of expertise. One individual who manages many project managers told me that project managers coming from the outside with project management skills performed better than those who were promoted from within and had deeper technical knowledge of the company’s products. What are your thoughts and experiences?