Case #1 - Diversification
Lebogang is an experienced project manager in the building industry. He has a degree in Building Science, moved into construction and made his way though the ranks to the level of project manager. He is now tired of watching houses go up and decide that even though he enjoys being a project manager, he'd prefer to try a different industry. He feels he has the potential. After all he was "project manager" for his own wedding. Maybe it was an overkill to give a Gantt chart to the caterer and band, but then things did run smoothly. He also acts as project manager for the family holidays, and his soccer club is really successful as a result of his organizing the teams and the matches. So why should he not be able to be a project manager in a different industry?
Lebogang looks for project manager positions in the Sunday papers and decides that it might be an idea to apply for a job as a project manager in a mine so he contacts an employment agency. "No", they tell him. "We cannot even send through your resume as the mine needs a project manager who has a mining degree and a few years of experience in the mine." Perhaps mining is quite technical and the project manager probably needs special skills, he thinks to himself.
What about a project manager position in local government? This could be a possibility as the 'Director: Project Management' position specifies that applicants need: "computer and analytical skills, a project manager qualification" and "proven leadership qualities with strong strategic and operational management thinking". The only problem is that the job also requires "applicable experience in dealing with the subject matter on a senior level of expertise". Well that's a problem as Lebogang could not pick that skill up when he was just building houses.
The same issues arise if he tries to move into information technology (IT) as project manager in charge of software developers working on various projects. He'll be asked questions that determine what his experience is of the software development lifecycle, his knowledge of various software packages or development languages and what is his attitude to quality control in IT. It seems that a project manager would need to have a good knowledge of the industry. This may not necessarily be as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), but at least he would have to have good content knowledge.
4. Rapport, Office of the North West Premier, job vacancy, 22/1/2006