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Project Manager’s Need for Expertise

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Project Manager’s Need for Expertise


April 13, 2007

The topic presented this evening, of how much emphasis is placed upon a project manager to be an expert in the technology that their project is trying to implement, is one that can be challenging to answer. I wish to represent the arguments on both ends of the spectrum, and how these would interact, and in the end, what the proper balance should be.

In researching this topic, I had come across information presented by Harold Kerzner, in which he suggests that the project manager does not need to be an expert in the area in which they overseeing with the project. Often times, companies bring in such subject matter experts (SMEs) to assist. SMEs may not be talented at larger management issues, and may not be able to communicate clearly amongst the team, and the different roles within. It is analogous to a painter talking to a carpenter; they are both part of the same project, but may not understand each others' approaches. The SMEs are the raw materials that make the project function, so the project manager does not need to be a specialist, but needs to know how to best manage these resources.

However, project managers are better equipped as they know more about the project's subject matter, as they would serve as that link between units of the project, as well as communicate with other managers. By being able to understand and articulate the steps of the project, they would be able to address numerous concerns with the project, and be able to identify and address areas of the project, and would be aware of the best course of action to take. All agree that the project manager needs to excel in their managerial skills and their interpersonal relationships.

It is my opinion that the project manager needs to strike a balance between management and specialization. Too much specialization in one area would result in items being overlooked in another

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