Warming up the old “functional vs. project skills” chestnut

Sreejith at PM Karma takes a crack at resolving the debate about whether functional or project management skills are more important when leading initiatives.  I’ll let you agree or disagree with his take directly on his post (here).

My take is that this topic is one where our friend — the much-maligned PMBOK Guide — is perfectly sound.  The discussion on pages 12-15 of the 3rd Edition (Section 1.5: Areas of Expertise) lays out the basic elements that the project management team must understand and use:

  • The project management body of knowledge (please note that Figure 1-2 on page 13 of the 3rd edition clearly depicts that the PMBOK Guide is a subset of the PMBOK itself).
  • Application area knowledge, standards, and regulations.
  • Understanding the project environment.
  • General management knowledge and skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.

If you’re looking to ensure that your project team has all the requisite skills and competencies, you could do worse that building a simple checklist derived from Section 1.5 of the 3rd Edition.  And yes, it is the project team, not the project manager.

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5 Responses

  1. Excellent summary of core competencies for great project teams. Time for me to dust off that old PMBOK disk and take another look around.

    Alec

  2. Yeah, one of the PM Articles of Faith is that the PMBOK Guide sucks. That just isn’t so.

    Thanks for the comment, Alec.

  3. Paul!
    I missed this blog and luckily found it (atleast now!) while looking for some stuff in google.
    Thank you for discussing my article here.
    “functional vs. project skills” debate doesnt seem to end in PM battleground ;)

    Cheers!

  4. […] chestnuts” I heard when I started to consort with project management professionals was the “functional vs. project skills” chestnut. I used to hear from many project pros that all that was really needed for project leadership […]

  5. […] that used to pervade the profession. As we’ve noted here, here, and here: people skills and domain knowledge are essential to initiatives’ […]

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