Reply To: Is Project Management a Profession?

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The author definitely has written a provocative article…one that attempts to continue an outdated (almost 12th century) way of thinking.  I personally have been struggling with this in my profession for over 30 years.
I find it interesting the author claims he looked at “all existing professions from the legal, socio-economic, and semantic perspectives,…”  How on earth did he review ALL professions from 400 surveys?  Does that mean that there are only 400 professions in the entire world?
While I agree with his premise that project management is a process, it is mastery of that process – AND – the ability to apply that process in any industry which makes it a profession.  Tiger Woods has mastered the process of golfing – at many different golf courses and in many different countries.  (I wish my golf game was on the same planet as his once was.)  Open heart surgery or psychological therapy is a process, so using the author’s facet of this definition means that being a heart surgeon or a psychologists is not a profession.
I find it funny that he mentions P.E. as a profession (by earning their license) and many P.E.’s have not the foggiest clue how to be PM’s.  I can barely spell IT, but as a professional project manager, I could go tomorrow and manage an IT project – on time, on budget, and within scope.  Project management is not a title (the author states in his article) it is a process…but my title is Senior Project Manager and it is what I do, uniquely on each project.
In conclusion, I want to point out two things:
1. After reading the thesis, I find it unusual that the author has not yet been conferred his doctorate and the thesis was written over 3 years ago?
2. Continuing down a path of thinking project management is not a profession and project managers are not professionals at what they do is dangerous for most any organization.  Failing to embrace project management in a project-based industry (and trying to do it without professional project managers) is a recipe for failure.
Proudly as a Professional Project Manager,
Gregg D. Richie, CNP, PMP, MCTS