STAFFING YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAM (Part 8) –Project Manager and Industry, Domain and/or Technical Experience

This McLaughlin and McLaughlins Project Professionals post is the eighth in a series of discussions regarding current challenges with the staffing aspects of your project management team.   This post (like Parts 4, 5, 6 and 7) addresses acquiring the human resources (people) or staffing.  In this case, we focus on the project manager.  The Subject Series can be viewed here.

This, the fourth post on acquiring the project manager, addresses the relevance and/or importance of industry, domain and/or technical experience in a professional project manager.

According to Google, LinkedIn is the World’s Largest Professional Network.  As a member of several Discussion Groups that pertain to project management, I posed the following discussion:

In Project Program or Construction Management, how important is industry, technical or domain experience?

“When project management candidates or persons are being considered, selected, and engaged or hired, technical or domain experience is frequently an expressed consideration. Often, criteria for the individual includes industry, project-specific scope, technical or other experience with the content of the project are expressed requirements. There are differing views on this subject. What are your views?”

“PMI’s PMBOK discusses many activities and skills that are (in part or entirely) focused on the Project or Program Manager. All of these process requirements are managerial in nature, virtually none are technical or domain related.”

“In his authoritative book PROJECT MANAGEMENT, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Dr. Kerzner lists ten proficiencies for effective project management. Only one of the ten is Technical Expertise (assume same as domain expertise). Industry or similar project experience does not make the list.”

“Having managed many projects in many industries and with varying underlying technology, it is fair to say that opinions vary widely on this topic.”

“What is your perspective, opinion, experience or view?”

The comments are both thoughtful and revealing.  In the following, we have extracted typical (but not all) of these comments. [Read more…]