Paper Example: Project Management as an Accidental Profession

Published: 2023-11-19
Paper Example: Project Management as an Accidental Profession
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Project management Profession
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1591 words
14 min read

Project management practice has been present for the last six decades, and businesses are progressively utilizing projects to attain their set goals (Uchitpe et al., 2016). Projects aid in resource mobilization to ensure value-added changes. Nevertheless, there is variation in the work nature and an increased need for project managers. Currently, various sectors like information technology, engineering, defense, and construction depend largely on projects and project management. Worldwide economic activities now take place in projects. For instance, in Australia, the main sector of economic production including energy and resources sectors are founded on projects (Karagoz et al., 2016). A substantial part of international economic activity critically requires project management like human capital efforts. Various higher education institutions are increasingly offering project management courses internationally. Regardless of this, different individuals usually end up as project managers even without applying for the position. The current project management has advanced thanks to academics, professional bodies, and practitioners’ participation. Researchers are studying various aspect of project management to identify the emerging trends within a specific period. Different organizations choose project managers according to their potential in areas of their specialty (Darrell et al., 2010). This essay explains why project management is sometimes described as an accidental profession because it lacks a set career path.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Project Management as an Accidental Profession

Richardson et al. (2015) conducted a qualitative study to determine if project management is still an accidental profession. The interviews conducted illustrated that the career path of project management does not normally start with the aim of being a project manager. The observed outcomes bring the question of whether people are still relying on the accidental training of project management. According to Richardson et al. (2015), the higher institutions offering project management courses at doctoral, master, and bachelor levels has increased by over 450 institutions. The number of project management degrees has increased from 11 to 900 in 1994 and 2014 consecutively (Richardson et al., 2015). In 1994, project management degrees were only offered in the construction sector; however, the disciplines offering the course have increased because healthcare, engineering, and construction are offering project management education. Nevertheless, despite the effort made by learning institutions, project management is still an accidental career. This is because some people begin project management career as a specialty but end up training on other management skills like leadership and communication.

According to Richardson et al. (2015), project management is an accidental profession because project managers get little training and preparation for their job. It is an accidental profession in two ways; first, people have not considered it a profession until recently because individuals study project management after getting into its responsibilities. Second, the understanding of the way a project is run is not usually attained through systematic inquiry but acquired through a hit-or-miss way. Project management lacks knowledgeable and well-defined career path in most advanced industries. Pollack (2007) mentioned that individuals grouped as accidental professionals are those outside the traditional project management businesses. They lack formal training and are selected due to their technical skills. Fresh-graduated project managers are not often employed in the positions related to operation, development, and design of project management systems, which is their area of speciality.

Project managers possess little formal power, but quickly learn the actual limits of their authority later. An efficient project manager is referred to as rather a kingpin than a king because they are loose bosses (Cicmil et al., 2006). The managing methods of project managers are persuasive and influencing instead of commanding and coercive (Ahsan et al., 2013). Due to the limitations on power and flexibility, project management is referred to as an accidental profession. According to Ahsan et al. (2013) project managers who are new to the culture and operations of a company are tested through a project that lacks the directive and set within a specific period, fixed budget, and performance features. The project managers who quickly understand their numerous roles succeeds while those who do not fail. The succeed and fail approach creates an attitude of fear amongst prospective project managers (Cicmil et al., 2006). Cicmil et al. (2006) states that some project managers usually fail while others stumble along from a specific crisis to another throughout the project. The predictable outcomes include wasted resources to the organization, irretrievable market opportunities, loss of money, loss of authoritative functions, managers fighting entrenched bureaucracy, and project failure (Crawford, 2005). Instead of handling project management as a valuable and unique course by necessitating selection policies and formal training, various businesses repeatedly make past mistakes. Most of the challenges that a project manager experiences are more behavioural and managerial than technical issues McKevitt et al., (2017). To become a better project manager, light needs to be shed on a significant range of vexations, challenges, travails, opportunities, and demands (Cicmil and Hodgson, 2006). Cicmil and Hodgson (2006) states that though the behavioural problems are repeatedly difficult, and can sometimes appear inconsequential, they contain a tremendous impact on effective implementation of projects.

Ndhlovu and Weeks (2013) mentioned that amongst the most challenging and intriguing features of project management are found in the association of the parent company and the project teams. Apart from the organizations that are developed with project structures and matrix, most businesses utilizing project management methods implement some sort of standard functional structure (Joseph and Marnewick, 2018). Addition of project teams to a company changes the structural guidelines dramatically. A significant number of individuals serving on project teams work as they maintain connections to their functional departments (Crawford, 2005). Or rather, they normally divide their time between their functional duties and the project. The effectiveness of project management is influenced by factors such as discretion faced by most project managers, power limitation, and temporary project nature (Silvius and Schipper, 2014). The issues that make projects distinctive from other functional activities helps in identifying the additional difficulties and complexities experienced by project managers (McKevitt et al., 2017). For instance, individuals with similar educational backgrounds are commonly found in a functional department. This indicates that the marketing sector is filled with marketers and finance department with finance staffs. Conversely, many projects are developed from cross-sectional and special teams comprising representatives from every important functional department (Joseph and Marnewick, 2018). The selected special team offer past experiences, learning, time frames, attitudes, and their own bias. The selection establishes a potent and cohesive team out of the level of heterogeneity; thereby, presenting an issue for even the most skilled and seasoned project managers (Giammalvo, 2007).

In the 21st century, experienced project managers express a lot of frustration with their companies due to the lack of comprehensive clarification of their allocated responsibilities and tasks (Richardson et al., 2015). Various organizations continue making the same mistakes by offering limited training. According to Bourne and Walker (2004), project managers deserve better for effective work output. A successful project manager usually has an active tension between deep knowledge of human resource requirements and technical training. Assessment of the relative role of every problem needs a clear understanding of better management of people's side of the process. Project management is a challenge in human management (Crawford, 2005). Due to globalization in the 21st century, the view of project management is changing (Stretton, 2007). An enhanced project management practice is becoming a necessity to ensure effectiveness in organizations. The changing economy requires immediate action to the deficiencies in the practices and theories within project management. According to Darrell et al. (2010), technique within project management is well identified. However, challenges in effective development, implementation, and obtaining customer's trust will persist until further methods of formalizing project management training are achieved (Darrell et al., 2010). Project managers are forced to obtain their skills the difficult way through trial and error and practical experience (McKevitt et al., 2017).

Indeed, experience is a critical aspect of learning but it has never been the best method. Project managers in the energy industry originate from different backgrounds. Ndhlovu and Weeks (2013) state that project managers have gone through distinctive career paths before becoming project managers. From the research conducted by Ndhlovu and Weeks (2013), it is evident that project management courses lack common skills to guide the growth of project managers in the vastly technical energy industry. There have been incidences of accidental project managers selected without reflection of the needed abilities and skills to run a project. Some succeed while others lead to project failure. On the contrary, project managers with a pure specialty in project management are chosen to lead projects that are outside their basic technical competency area; thereby, leading to the achievement of mixed outcomes (Silvius and Schipper, 2014). Assigning a project manager to areas outside their specialty leads to lack of motivation and increased inefficiency due to errors; hence poor productivity (Uchitpe et al., 2016).

Project Managers’ Perspectives on Project Management Profession

Andersen (2016) researched to determine the various opinions about project management by project managers. Majority of the respondents suggested that the path to the objective of project management is uncertain because some rely on a trial-and-error and intuitive judgement instead of formal procedures and up-front plans (Andersen, 2016). The original aim can even vary if new information emerges. According to Silvius and Schipper (2014), project management cannot be matched in similar forms just like the way people do not accept to live the same lifestyle. There are various kinds of project managers with distinctive perspectives based on challenges encountered, risk analysis, network planning, and work breakdown structure. Andersen (2016) concluded that project managers view their tasks differently; hence, different types of projects need distinctive approaches and tools. There is a challenge to create a common view of project management. In many instances, project managers are forced to adjust to a specific perspective for better description and understanding about a project.

Cite this page

Paper Example: Project Management as an Accidental Profession. (2023, Nov 19). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism