I am repeatedly in conversations with someone who refers to “PMs”. And I have to figure out which kind of PM they’re talking about.

Take this sentence from a recent email:
“…designed for executives, managers, PMs, BAs, developers, testers – essentially anyone in the software development value stream.”

Or the recent email with the subject line,  “The Evolving PM”.

▪    “… white-paper about the over-laps between PM and UX.”
▪    “…tons of PMs let go.”
▪    “…there are now schools pumping out “certified” PMs.”
▪    “If you know of any high quality PMs…”

I’m betting:
▪    if you’re a project manager you think those are all about project managers
▪    if you’re a product manager you think those are all about product managers
▪    if you’re a program manager you think those are all about program managers

In fact, they’re a mix. But there’s no way to tell!

While I’ve played several “PM” roles during my career, I’m not, today, a PM of any kind. I’m not a Project Manager, I’m not a Product Manager, and I’m not a Program Manager. Nor am I a Publication Manager (engagement last year: Stanford subsidiary HighWire, which hosts web sites for 1400 of the world’s most prestigious academic and scholarly journals from 150 publishers worldwide, and when I arrived, had 14 “PMs” for me to manage – who were account managers!).

But I have roles and responsibilities that require project managers, product managers, program managers and other “P” managers to communicate with me. I’m an interim VP Engineering. And a consulting CTO. And an Agile trainer and coach of Agile transformations. And co-author of the recent Addison Wesley book:
Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

You need to know:  “PM” doesn’t communicate. Your own group may know which PMs you refer to. But the rest of us don’t.

The abbreviation terminology I’ve been evangelizing, in my engagements:
PjM == Project Manager
PdM == Product Manager
PgM == Program Manager
Every one of those abbreviations is self-clarifying.

Transforming Chaos to Clarity
credit: Judy Bell


I give talks on Transforming Chaos to Clarity.

Project Managers and Product Managers and Program Managers are, to a one, charged with clarifying software development, not adding to the chaos.

“PM” adds to the chaos.

I wish that were…

’nuff said.


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