There are two competing forces affecting project management practitioners in today’s business environment.  The first is a demand for well-rounded individuals who are able to think and act strategically.  There is a desire to have professionals who are able to navigate through a variety of disciplines for the benefit of the organization and its clients.  The second is a requirement for specialization where practitioners are expected to have deep knowledge and expertise within a given area of the profession or a specific industry.

The trouble is that it is almost impossible to find people who are subject matter experts in a given discipline while at the same time serving as a jack-of-all-trades as it were.  The very notion of specialization means that practitioners have to shun the idea of “jumping around” in their career.  By the same token an individual who is specialized will have likely not spent much time out of their area of expertise and thus will probably not have developed that “well roundedness” that some leaders desire.

Whether the two views can be reconciles in my opinion has to be taken on a case-by-case basis.  This will all depend on the individual who is being evaluated for a given role within the organization.

It is critical for professionals to step out of their “sandbox” to see how the rest of the world operate, even those individuals who are deep experts.  However, the degree to which someone chooses to extend their reach will vary based on interests, organizational needs, and skill-set.

What is most important here is that organizations have to recognize that there has to be a place for both the specialized expert as well as the jack-of-all-trades.  This mix of specialty with global outlook offers a balance