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I'm curious if the project manager is best considered to be its own profession, or a role within some other context.

From what I've read there is a wide range of project types and I find it hard to believe one PM could manage to do them all successfully. Does this mean that project management is a role to be fulfilled by another person that can specialize in the project type, or does a project manager have a different set of skills to allow him or her to fulfill the needs of different projects?

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There is a professional organization and a professional license. Why would there be any confusion? –  Mark C. Wallace Feb 12 '13 at 11:41
    
Indeed, organizations like IPMA, PMI and such do exist but they are not addressing if the project manager is ONE profession, as in independent of project type. I really liked the doctor analogy, it answers the often occurring "Project Manager IN <specific area>" I see in ads for PM jobs. –  Storm Feb 12 '13 at 20:35

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Project management is a profession; it represents a career path and a body of knowledge while still allowing for specialization. This is no different than a doctor specializing in geriatrics or pediatrics.

A project manager is a functional role within a project team that should ideally be filled by a project management professional. Other roles within a project—such as the program manager or developer roles—should be filled by other professionals, each with the appropriate skill set.

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This is best case, but a lot of organizations call a job a "project manager" when they really mean something else, i.e. empowered business analyst. –  jdb1a1 Feb 18 '13 at 0:44
    
Yep, in the software industry, I've seen countless times where the company expects an individual to wear the Project Manager hat 50% of his time and do other functions (architect, coder, analyst, tester, etc) the other 50% of the time. –  Jeach Feb 18 '13 at 21:14

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