Project Management

Be the Project Manager Who Gets a Taste of Everything

The pursuit of knowledge is never-ending, especially for a project manager. In an article for Project@tion, Don Kim explores the dichotomy between generalist and specialist and what a project manager truly needs in order to prosper.

It is important for a project manager to possess certain finite skills in order to accelerate their career as well as the business’s success. However, posting a job with very specific qualifications drastically limits the job pool and may cause a wonderful candidate to not “qualify” because of the extreme standards. Yes, they need to know specific information, but they also need to be well-rounded.

So is it best to be a generalist or a specialist? According to Kim, the ideal candidate is a generalist, a person possessing “technical depth rather than a technical specialist.” They know a little bit about everything. Being well-versed helps for them to better communicate to stakeholders how their vision aligns with business strategy.

The best generalist has the ability to navigate through all technical areas required and be able to delve deep within them to exhibit some sort of knowledge. They do not necessarily have to be so well-versed in every technical issue to propose solutions–just enough to understand what kind of expertise is needed to solve the problems.

In a world where technology changes information in such high frequency that even computers struggle to keep up, it is asking a lot for a project manager to possess such knowledge. But if they are truly seeking success, they accept this responsibility and maintain a suitable level of knowledge on everything, or at the very least, enough to fake a conversation at a cocktail party.

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