Feb 13, 2012

New Poll: Do Project Managers need to be Product / Business Experts?

This week's poll is on very interesting (and contentious) topic.
' Do project managers need to be Product / Business Experts?'.
We hear multiple opinions on this topic.
On the one hand are those people who feel that an effective PM need to know the product. How can you manage a project without having an understanding of the product? How can you resolve issues that come up in the project? How can he guide the junior members of his team when they are stuck up with issues?
What about Project Management activities? Shouldn't a PM do these tasks? Won't he lose focus on the PM activities if he focuses more on the project? Won't a project manager with product expertise lower himself to the role of the Consultant and thereby undercut the consultant?
The answer provided by this group is no. Project manager being a product expert doesn't mean that he should start doing the tasks of a consultants. He still have to focus on Project Management Activities. However, this group feel that product expertise will improve his / her project management capability.
I fall into this category.
One the other hand there are many PMI Certified Project Managers who believe that Project Management is a skill different from Product / Business knowledge and that a Project manager need to focus on Customer Co-ordination / management and the management aspects of project. In their opinion, Project Management is product agnostic. A good PM can seamlessly implement Oracle Financials on a Siebel CRM and a SAP Supply Chain environment. As per them, project management is a stress filled activity. If the PM is a product expert, there is a chance that during times of stress, the PM will regress to his comfortable role of being a Product expert and thereby damaging the overall project effectiveness.
What do you think? Should PM need to be a product expert?
Pour in your views, world....


Ramaswamy VK said...

So far I have received two comments to the Poll, one supporting the point and other, opposing the point. Thank god, there are no votaries for the third option. It would have put PMP Certified Project Managers like me in a bit of a spot....

Ramaswamy VK said...

This poll is becoming more and more interesting. As of today 7 readers have voted of which 4 have voted in favor of PM being a product expert and 3 in support of PM being a product agnostic. Interesting..
Do participate and make your opinion count...