Project Management Institute

Specialists vs. generalists

Project managers have long debated the question, "What's best for my career: comprehensive knowledge or niche skill sets?" Generalists believe their familiarity with project management processes helps foster collaboration among stakeholders and earn results. Specialists, on the other hand, believe they have the industry-specific expertise needed to address a project's nuances for prompt, efficient delivery. This article examines the differences between generalists and specialists. Generalists have project management down pat, can work across silos, and have plenty of opportunities. Specialists develop in-demand skill sets, can help with the practical details, and can stand out in a narrower playing field. Accompanying the article is a sidebar that features project professionals discussing their roles as either specialists or generalists.
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