A paper presented to the Project Management Symposium on PM: Project Manager Role Evolution, Rome, Italy, 2004.

Updated 7/3/04

"PMI" and "PMBOK" are the registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute.
Published here September 2004.

PART 2 | Introduction | Individual Capabilities in Project Management
U.S. Government Project Management Certification Initiatives
Project Teams | The "Profession" of Project Management | PART 4

The "Profession" of Project Management

There is continuing discussion within the project management community of practitioners, consultants, teachers, trainers, authors, researchers, editors, publishers, software vendors, and the associations that have taken charge of the several project management bodies of knowledge, certification, accreditation, standards development, ethics, and project management maturity model development and application, regarding whether or not project management is or will ever be a true "profession".

As David Pells says:

"Contrary to 'project management as a Profession', I have recently come to the conclusion that project management must now be understood and promoted as a 'core competency for every executive in every organization'. The direction our 'profession' must now take, in my opinion, is to show that the benefits of professional project management are so profound and wide spread that they should be embraced by every professional, every executive and every organization. Management by projects is no longer a choice but a practical reality in a competitive world. Enterprise project management and portfolio project management are simply steps toward a more mature and more profitable enterprise."

"To survive and/or to prosper, every executive must understand how to organize, plan and complete projects. These opinions are based on my research and thinking during the development of two recent papers (for Russia/IPMA in June and the IPMI in Ireland) on the subject of how 'modern project management makes money' for professionals, project managers, program managers, CEOs and organizations. It is the bottom line and, in my opinion, overwhelming logic". (Pells, 2003).

David Curling has expressed a similar opinion, recently saying that:

"I wrote on the 'Globalization of the Project Management Profession' and presented the paper to PMI in Chicago [in 1998] and to some local project management organizations. Most were horrified when I declared that project management was not a profession but a business discipline and I had some difficulty in seeing that it would ever become a profession. That is, I felt that project management was simply a sub set of general management and there was little probability of 'General Management' becoming a 'legally based profession'". (Curling 2003).

Roberto Morales [2003], Dean of the National University of Engineering in Peru, captured the essence of this current thinking when he recently stated that:

"Project management is a way of life for all professionals."
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