PM's Qualifications to take on a project - how would you answer this ?

I came across the following question on PMStudy and I disagree with the answer.

Before I give the answer that PMStudy stated as being correct, I would like to get a few responses as to what the forum members believe to be the correct answer.

Your company has been awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to build a combined-cycle gas turbine plant. You have been assigned to manage this project, but your expertise as a PM is in the field of information technology. In this context, what should you do ?

A) Explain to your senior management about your knowledge and experience

B) Ask for adequate training in your new area of operation

C) Accept the responsibility and put in your best efforts

D) Reject the assignment stating that it is beyond your capabilities and experience


Since a few of you have responded, I will update my post now with my answer and reasoning and PMStudy's answer and reasoning. Based on my studies, I felt that "D"  is the correct answer. My basis is from the PMI Code of Ethics - Section 2.2 "Responsibility: Aspirational Standards".  Section 2.2.2 states "We accept only those assignments that are consistent with our background, experience, skills, and qualifications."

Answer per PMStudy: C


Explanation per PMStudy: A PM must always be truthful while reporting about her qualification, experience, background, and past performances to one's prospective employers, customers, etc.

PMI believes that the PM need not be a subject matter expert and similar project management skills can be used across different industries.

can you please share the answer now... 

 Not sure but if it would be a question I have to answer then I might have gone for option B because as a PM I must be already very much aware of the Enterprise Env Factors & Org Process Assets of the company  also definitely the main PMI ways of handling a project also must be known. The part that remains, which is  short of making me as successfull PM is the functional knowledge. Also my answer is very much from the perspective of an Projectized organization.



 Interesting, So tomorrow NASA calls me "Hey, we noticed you are an PMP & always wanted to fly in space, why dont you manage our project for rocket launch APPOLO2 to space, yeah its ok you dont know ROCKET SCIENCE but since you are an PMP, NASA people are very much fine with you manging this project since PM need not be a subject matter expert and similar project management skills can be used across different industries" & probably I will be laughing holding my tummy saying " are u guys gone nuts ".

but on a serious note I definitely would appreciate some expert opinion on this.



admin's picture

I agree with Mudassar, first step before rejecting the assingment would be to have a discussion with your Sr. Management to explain your case. Understand the rationale why they have selected you. Is it a stop gap arrangement or they really thing your past experience will help delivering the project

Remember Lou gerstner the ex IBM CEO had no experience in IT , he was in Amex and before that in biscuit company, however the appointers were confident that Lou regarless of no IT background can turn around the company and that is what he did.

So the option of working in a different domain is not completely ruled out.

RP's picture

In my opinion, Option A would be initially suitable before suggesting rejection or even asking for new training. I would have never chosen Option C as putting in a 'best effort' is totally subjective.

The option C is correct. We learn from Rita that project management process is same for the projects and PM does not have to be a technical expert.

 Kind of tricky question. But when you analyse you would see that Option C is best. Read through this line-but your expertise as a PM is in the field of information technology. It means that the PM is already an expert in Project Management skills, but has handled only IT projects till now. It is definitely not a "HALO effect" - by putting someone who is technically strong into PM role all of a sudden. Hope it is clear now :)

PM takes the inputs from Team regarding technical/non technical prospectives of WBS and other estimates, He himself is just followign the processes and it doesnt matter which company/industry it is



I would have chose option C.  According to PMI, Project management can be applied across all types of industries.  Also the PM does not need to be the SME, instead they rely on their team to provide the SME and simply integrate the parts.