After Jason Martin’s excellent post, I took the question over to Ask About Projects to see what their reaction would be.
While everyone’s answer was well put, I particularly liked Trevor Nelson‘s position that “we need to stretch ourselves to grow, but to also recognize the difference between stretching and delusion”. Personally I agree with many of the respondents that while a PM’s skills in theory transfer from one domain to another, moving too far away from one’s comfort zone is too costly both to the PM and to the project. As Totophil stated, “the notion of PM relying on specialists to fill the domain knowledge gaps doesn’t work out when the knowledge chasm that needs to be crossed is just too great.”
However, not everyone feels similarly. JBancroftConnors felt that the project manager “is probably one of the few job roles there is, that excels in the jack of all trades” role. Susan de Sousa replied on Jason Martin’s blog that “whilst domain knowledge is beneficial [she has] found that Organizations value delivery ability much more because at the end of the day, on high profile projects, if it doesn’t get done then someone is going to be fired!”
Jason Martin demonstrated his perspective in a (fabulous) chart on his blog. He contended that “if the PM just kept grinding it out and doing the best job he/she could, the project would be delivered.”