Project Manager

Project Manager, Programme Manager or Portfolio Manager – What are you?

As an independent IT consultant who specialises in Project and Programme management I am constantly asked what do you consider yourself to be. Well the answer I always give is all of the above.

The definitions I use are as follows.

Project, Programme or Portfolio

  • Project manager. Someone who manages a discrete piece of work that requires several steps to be followed and completed in order to deliver something.
  • Programme Manager. Someone who manages several interrelated and interdependent projects that constitutes the delivery of an overall solution.
  • Portfolio Manager. Someone who manages multiple not necessarily interrelated or interdependent pieces of work that delivers multiple discrete solutions.

Each of the definitions themselves can be very vague and do not really tell what skills a person has. For example you can have a Project Manager who manages a project of 50K but they are not in the same league as a Project manager who manages projects of 20million.

Again with a programme management you have the extremes of size from small to large and the skills required at each end of the spectrum is different.

This is why I always respond with all of the above. It isn’t arrogance it is the fact that I have the skills to cover all of the roles and will pull the requisite ones out of the tool box depending on the role.

This highlights one of the fundamental flaws with the way that independents are hired within the IT business. The emphasis in on buzz words and generic definitions of roles but this doesn’t really work at the higher end.

Most very experienced Project/Programme Managers will have both of these on their resume to make sure they are not excluded from any roles. They transpose the skills as needed and feel comfortable in either space.

If you are reading this and looking to hire then you have to know that experienced people can fulfil either role.