Project Management

The Occasional Project Manager

Robert Wysocki and Joseph Matthews

In this new series, we address the Occasional Project Manager, a professional found in thousands of organizations, working on a variety of initiatives with minimal guidance. A majority of OPMs have no interest in a project management career, which is why they need an adaptive framework that applies to their work realities.

This is the first in a series of six articles devoted to the Occasional Project Manager (OPM).

There are two types of project managers. The first is the Career Project Manager (CPM). They are usually members of a professional society like Project Management Institute and have earned professional certification like the PMP. Project management is their avocation. They are always interested in improving the processes they use and their practice of those processes. Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written about their challenges and adventures. This is not the type of project manager we will be discussing.

The second type of project manager is the Occasional Project Managers (OPM), sometimes referred to as the incidental or accidental PM. For the OPM, project management is a tool in their toolkit. Their primary avocation is a functional business area, line of business management or engineering related. They are seldom members of PMI or any other project management professional society. They have no interest in having the PMP …

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