Breaking Free of Job Title Labels

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In recent months, I’ve had a number of conversations with people that I have found troubling. In truth, I don’t believe this represents some new and emerging trend; I think it’s something that has always existed and it has just been a coincidence that it has come up more frequently.

The issue is with people who are struggling to know how to pursue their career because they are “stuck” with the label that their employer has put on them. Let me explain what I mean with an example.

I spoke to a project manager at one large company who didn’t believe that he was actually a project manager. As far as I was concerned, there was no doubt—he was in charge of an initiative that the organization had invested in to develop a unique solution. It involved people from different business areas coming together as a team and would result in a system upgrade that would benefit the organization through improved efficiency and stability. It was a project.

But because it was “only” a departmental initiative financed with some leftover funds that had never been tracked or planned for this initiative, the organization didn’t treat it in the same way as the rest of the projects. There was no formal PMO oversight, it didn’t appear on a consolidated project report anywhere, and outside of the department that was investing in it, …


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