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The limits of knowledge - Pg. 192

chapter 9 The limits of knowledge S o you are a project manager ­ you know what a project manager does, and you regularly put this successfully into practice. What can limit your success? There are two traps project managers some- times fall into that can constrain their achievements. The first is to try to apply generic project management skills to the situation in which a spe- cialist is required. The second is to try to do things that are best done by other people. To avoid these traps you need to understand the limits of your knowledge and skills. This chapter sets out to discuss, explain and answer two key questions related to the boundaries of project management knowledge: 1 When do you need a specialist who can manage a project, and when do you need a professional project manager? In many situations project managers can be caught in debates to do with the fact that on the one hand project management skills are within many people's capabilities, so the question arises `do we really need professional project managers?', while on the other hand there is a common thought that `isn't project management a generic skill set that can be applied to any situation?'. This leads to the subsequent thought, `surely someone who can manage one project can manage any other?' You need to understand this argument so that you apply your skills on appropriate projects, and also so that you can respond to this debate when it occurs. (Specialist in this context relates to any particular professional or functional discipline, e.g. lawyer, accountant, engineer, HR, IT, etc.).