Findings: Is Project Management a Profession?
For the purposes of this paper, there are two questions from the survey that have proven most revealing. The first is how a broad population of ± 400 global respondents weighted the 22 attributes previously identified as being indicative of professions. The second was the respondents' ranking in order of a series of definitions that they felt best describe Project Management.
Figure 2: Ranking of the 22 Attributes of Professions (Mean ± 1 Sigma)
From an examination of the top quartile displayed in Figure 2, it is evident that practitioners consider subscribing to a "Code of Ethics" is the top ranked attribute for having an occupation considered as a profession. This is followed by "Trust", which is coming from the intrinsic or non-traditional category, followed by a "unique, complicated or esoteric" Body of Knowledge ranked third. The body of knowledge assumes more significance in that it is the only attribute common to both extrinsic or traditional, and intrinsic or non-traditional attributes of professions.
Position #4 requires "A professional organization that sets standards" ranked in 4th place, followed by recognition of a Fiduciary obligation to the health, safety and welfare of the consuming public ranked 5th. In #6th place, "Cruciality" was another of the intrinsic or non-traditional attributes. "Cruciality" is defined as "being in need of a service which is vital to ones health, safety, welfare or financial well-being."
So of the top quartile of 6 out of 33 of the attributes, three of them were considered to be non-traditional in nature. The relevancy or importance of this ranking becomes even more pronounced when looking at the data plotted on an interval scale. Figure 3 illustrates the relative ranking or value of the 22 attributes. Of significant importance is the fact that in the judgment of the practitioner subscribing to a Code of Ethics and "Trust" rank nearly tied for first place. This has significant implications for those organizations that deem to represent project management, for the key element in establishing a "brand image" of project managers is to build the image of trust, based on adherence to a Code of Ethics.
Figure 3: Interval Scale Ranking of the 22 Attributes of Professions