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I have been doing this now for 2 years,and whilst job hunting I have seen many jobs where they want somebody who is a hybrid; Developer/PM, Business analyst/PM (very popular), Account manager/PM as opposed to someone that is a pure PM.

With that in mind, is PM a stand alone profession in it's own right, or do you have to be really good at something else before becoming a PM?

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    Smaller companies always want people to wear more than one hat. Larger companies usually do not, but that doesn't mean they don't want cross-functional people. – Todd A. Jacobs Jun 23 '17 at 6:54
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I´ve been working as Project Manager for IT for more than 10 years. It was my profession, and I had some colleagues with the same role in my organization, and we all think that it was our profession.

So no doubt about that, I would like to add, that it´s one of the most demanded and complex professions that companies are looking for, actually.

Detecting when the company is facing a project and assigning it to a PM is still a challenge to many companies, and with that, they still need to develop how to create and manage the team for the project, the budget, the timelines, etc

So, yes, it´s a profession and yes, it´s a critical one.

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It would appear to be a per-industry, per-company, or even-per department opinion. I consider Project Management to be a profession because I have used the exact same tools and techniques in architecture/construction, IT infrastructure, and business strategy development.

It gets messy, though. Even in my current company, there is a specific role called "Project Management" and a PM team in our custom software deployment team but there is not that same role in our development teams.

I would guess that companies that have very specific contracts (custom dev, implementation, migrations, etc.) will treat Project Management as a profession whereas companies will more free flowing development will treat project management as an add-on/combo job.

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Project Management is its own profession. I don't think there is much debate on that.

The second part of your questions is a bit more nuanced. In theory if you've got the PM skills you should be able to manage any type of project. The reality is that generally your PM work will fall into a domain which you already have some background in. This will help on the projects where you may not have subject matter experts to provide you with domain specific information and help you qualify people's estimates and risks.

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  • Then why are many companies recruiting people who didn't train to specifically become a PM, but for example a developer turned PM? Using this example, if it is a profession in its own right anyone with a non technical background can train to be a PM without writing a line of code, doesn't seem to be the case. – bobo2000 Jun 28 '17 at 10:12
  • Project management is its own domain, it has its own body of knowledge and a completely different skillset than a software developer, or a carpenter. Generally though PM positions are promotions from those type of roles because of the industry domain knowledge required. That's an HR thing, not a question of if Project Management is its own job. – Gregory Morton Jun 28 '17 at 12:59
  • "promotions from those type of roles because of the industry domain knowledge required. " yet with other professions I do not need to be x thing to be y thing, they are stand alone professons in that respect. – bobo2000 Jun 28 '17 at 18:44
  • Not true. Try to get a job as a coach without ever picking up the sport. Is a coach not a profession then? Movie director with no experience acting or writing? And yet not all players or actors make good coaches/directors, because it is a separate skillset. – Gregory Morton Jun 29 '17 at 15:51
  • I come from a technical background, but have met people working in digital and managing projects who really should not be working within digital from not understanding tech. – bobo2000 Jul 14 '17 at 14:36
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Project Management is without a doubt a profession, one that adapts to the needs of the organization, but still keeps many of the key characteristics.

Like Roberto Gimenez, I have also been in this area for over 10 years. In all this time I have noticed the professsion does have some areas of concentration, not all PMs work in the same kind of business, nor do they need to use the same business lingo. That is the reason probably you felt confused about the apparent dual roles you mention related to development, business analysis and of course management. All those areas relate to IT Project Management, arguably one of the larger areas today.

Project Managers are without a doubt an important middle layer of management between the top leadership, and the actual teams that make things happen. Given that they work in a variety of industries you will notice that many times they do use different titles, but the career is quite similar. The main two areas where PMs work for are in two big functional specialties:

  • Inside of Software Development or IT. In this area the agile movement has brought different titles, and the role has also changed a bit, but in essence it is about leading teams. The most common role you will see is Agile Coach, Scrum Master or Agile Project Manager.
  • Outside of IT. This may be in the construction industry, professional services, movie making, the military, or just about any other area where teams of people need to build and deliver solutions. In this case by far the most common title you will see is either Project Manager or Program Manager, but on ocassion you may see especialized titles such as Director or Risk Manager. Agile in these areas is still in its infancy here, but growing steadily.

Within the Agile movement the two most important Agile methods and frameworks would be Scrum and Kanban. Scrum mandates roles, and has a defined approach. Kanban is much more fluid, but also agile. I recommend you take a look at both.

Within traditional Project Management the Project Management Institute is the most influential organization in the world. In the UK Prince 2 is a strong competitor to PMI. Both are fine institutions.

I would certainly recommend this profession to anyone serious about working with teams and delivering solutions. It never ceases to grow, and give you positive challenges to apply your intellect.

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  • Although Scrum doesn't have a project manager technically. Scrummaster is a servent leader to the dev team. – bobo2000 Jul 14 '17 at 14:35
  • Indeed, in many organizations that choose Scrum, Project Managers may become Scrum Masters. However many times Project Managers oversee many Scrum Teams and remain either Agile PMs or become Agile Coaches. – Joseph Hurtado Jul 15 '17 at 17:32

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