Project Management

Finding Your Niche as a Project Manager

PMI Kenya Chapter

Stephanie is a project process specialist, trainer and mentor. She is the Lead Consultant at Jaeger Consultants Ltd in Nairobi. Stephanie specializes in the human aspect of project management and leadership, and encourages discussion and feedback. She also writes regular blogs on

About seven years ago, I ended up more or less accidentally—and against my will—with the job title of “project manager.” However, when I started looking into it and getting training, I realized something: I had been a project manager for most of my career.

I have successfully managed projects in different sectors throughout my professional life—and often projects for which I had no prior subject matter knowledge (like my first construction project); or only had partial knowledge (like the compilation of the training manual). I usually learned from my expert team members as we went along, and thus became a respected project management expert.

Then I realized that—in order to avoid being pushed into a corner I didn’t want to be in—I needed to identify a specific brand I wanted to be known for in project management.

This is an issue for many fledgling project managers. How do I become recognized as a project manager in the first place? Which corner of the PM sector do I want to be known for? Many of us end up doing projects in areas where we were subject managers first. People will continue to see us as only the subject matter expert and not the skilled project manager we have become.

For example, Technician X starts managing projects, and everyone continues to see him as Technician X for the rest of his career in the …

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"Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on."

- Winston Churchill