The importance of being multi-disciplinary with Sustainable Project Management

There is an ongoing debate as to whether it is better to be an expert or general in the market. Some recruiters have provided a recommendation to play safe by Position yourself, With width. “In a Forbes article recommend being an expert on the subject and your desire, and being general in your skills and approach.

When I teach project managers, evaluators, consultants and graduate students in sustainable project management and management consulting, I always try to emphasize the importance of being “multidisciplinary”, and develop their brand recognition to be an expert on a topic in a unique niche that has commercial value.

The importance of this, especially in managing a sustainable project, is that being proficient and talented in several different disciplines that blend well together has become an entry cost now. Combining these skills in a unique way that suits you becomes much more useful than screen each skill individually. I read a post in Forge by Medium called “How to be the best in the world at something,” written by Thomas Foieu That provides a wonderful narrative around it, and that I asked it significantly as a framework for this post.

Some people will become the president or prime minister of a country, the doctor or the lawyer or the leading accountant or engineer, or be recognized for a season or a career as the best hockey or football or football player, pianist or singer (country, blues, rock, new rock, Old rock, Indy and so.). Even for a short period of time being recognized as the best in the world in any unique skill or profession is the definition of unique.

Courtesy of Tomas Pueyo (2019).

Looking at these graphic examples, most people (in the lower blue area) have very little specific skill.

A little work can quickly get you to the top 10% (the green area).

But as you join the elite, it gets harder and harder to move forward, as you face competitors who are very committed to this skill, have an unprecedented urge, have invested exceptional time and resources to improve their ability and ability, and / or have exceptional benefits like gifts Genetics or luck that others do not have. So becoming the best swimmer in the world, the best singer, the best runner, the best pianist or the best in any skill in the world is almost impossible.

Courtesy of Tomas Pueyo, Slightly Different (2019).

The secret is in something defined by cartoonist Adam Scott, from the Dilbert fame, known as Skill Stacking.

The recommendation is to develop a variety of skills to an achievable level, which together make someone a sought-after commodity. This is how he described his success and fame:

“Scott Adams explained that he’s not a great artist, but just average compared to other artists. He’s a good writer, but not a great writer and never took a college-level writing course. He can be a little funny, but a lot of people a lot funnier. He’s just fine in business, “And certainly not an expert in any way. This mental combination of mediocre skills allowed him to become a very successful cartoonist and writer with an estimated net worth of $ 75 million.” (Link, 2019)

Ideally, the skills will be unique, and also complementary. In the following example, each summit represents a unique skill. Reaching the top 10% (green area) of two skills requires much less work than being the best at one. As mentioned, it is important that these two curves do not overlap much, meaning that most people who are good at one skill are not good at another.

Courtesy of Tomas Pueyo (2019).

In the example below, the two skills shown go hand in hand. In the example below, for the two skills shown most people who master one also master the other. So it’s harder to stand out than if you had two unrelated skills.

“For example, if you are in the top 1% in journalism, even being in the top 1% in writing skills will not make a big difference. Most of the top journalists are good writers. What is different about the stack is that you have skills that not only work together but are also diverse enough to cause Go stand out. ” (Puyo, 2019)

Courtesy of Tomas Pueyo (2019).

I recognize the fact that I’m probably an exceptional case, but for over 20 years my OCD has focused on learning and professional credentials in those areas that make the most sense for the engagements I’ve been in and where my career is going.

For example, when I was working on the launch of the largest ITIL V2 in the 2000s, I got my ITIL V2 Manager and then the ITIL V3 Expert. When we focused on launching ITIL, I took the best known (biased of course) familiar project management methodology for it, which is PRINCE2 (I learned and used PRINCE at IBM in the late 90s and loved it). Which got me started on all APMG methods – the UK Government Trade Office (OGC). This trend continued for about a decade when I benefited from the different structural differences and perspectives in the standards / methods / frameworks of the competing associations and organizations, and then the points of integration between the disciplines also began to interest me. This has led me to the understanding that sustainability is a brilliant catalyst for all of these disciplines and skills.

I was able to organize these skills into several tracks, which I could use for my personal pile of skills. I chose my credentials and training because they provided evidence of knowledge, interest and in some cases a skill I could leverage along with years of experience and leadership in these disciplines.

As a rule of thumb, there are some key features that professionals from all sectors will definitely enjoy developing and refining. These include:

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Solid emotional intelligence
  • Sales experience
  • Public speaking skills
  • Programming skills
  • Strong persuasive abilities
  • Social media skills

When in doubt, speaking in front of an audience is always a good start, like through Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie.

For sustainable project management, our skills stack is a little different. The good news is that we can continue to improve and develop our skill sets during our daily activities. Take the IPMA ICB4 competency model as an example where we may want to consider focusing on specific skills:

Registration as an IPMA ICB4 service for project managers

For the GPM360 ° Appraiser and Consultant (RCA) In the program we focus on raising awareness and skill around managing a sustainable project with the following skills (as well as evaluator and consulting skills):

The following combination of skills is not common and provides commercial value:

  • Advanced experience, training, certification, skill and leadership in project management, veteran programs (P3M) is exceptional. Few have extensive skills in all three.
  • Advanced experience in sustainability, training and involvement are also not common in combination with P3M.
  • P3M with extensive sustainability and training, certification, experience and leadership in risk management is unique.
  • P3M training and certification and experience, sustainability, risks and advanced business architecture is very unique.
  • Add advanced training to managerial consulting, skill and recognition at the highest levels and it provides a particularly unique pile of skills.
Different from Tomas Pueyo (2019).

If we collapse the vertical axis and look at our skill stack from above, even if we are not in the yellow and red zone in any of these skills, not many people overlap at all. We can also continue to add more depending on the requirements of the situation. I for example can focus on value and benefit management as well as business specializations.

Different from Tomas Pueyo (2019).

What we are doing here is taking a systemic approach to building a platform that we can develop our unique brand and our value propositions. We certainly do not have to be the best in one field or skill set. For most of them this is a task of fools. A more logical and achievable goal is to understand in which niche you want to be recognized in which you stand out? What combination of skills and what level do I need and can I achieve to be unique in this niche? What are you hoping to find out there is a number you are already interested in, if not passionate about.

For sustainable project management, we need to understand the need to be multidisciplinary. The components of consulting and evaluation below can be removed, but the rest are the basic cost of getting into sustainable project management. The question is what do you add on these to your skills stack?

Foieu, Thomas (2019). “How to be the best in the world at something.” medium, Forge, October 21, 2019,




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