Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.


  • Service Provider

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?


  • Service Provider

    The article I read on this the other day (didn'tc lick through your link), also clearly called out that someone like Musk removing titles doesn't really mean a damned thing.

    But, that said, the point is 100% valid.

    WTF does my title mean?

    Manager - Network Engineering

    I'm most definitely not actually this pigeon-holed to only be a Manager in the Network Engineering group/department.



  • I hate titles... but for many a place I have worked,.. it's the only thing they understood... as they didn't understand what technology they had, needed, or how to use it.



  • At least my current title "IT Server Administrator" is related to my actual work.



  • If I have a title at my current job, I have no clue what it is.

    Sometimes a fancy title will be used to describe me if client services wants my involvement to sound like an escalation.

    I also once had to describe my role in the company on a call with a potential partner company when our COO was on the call too. Hopefully my description lined up with what he expects me to be doing.


  • Service Provider

    @gjacobse said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    I hate titles... but for many a place I have worked,.. it's the only thing they understood... as they didn't understand what technology they had, needed, or how to use it.

    How would they then make use of a title? Any actual title would lead to confusion if they didn't understand the technology.



  • To me, a title is merely an HR function than anything because it describes the duties that the job function fulfills. If I were to leave my job, somebody else would have to come in behind me and fulfill the same job duties.

    If I am working on business processes in the IT sense with the boss, I try to think in relation to the position and not the person, such as naming the phones "Shipping Clerk" or "Accounts Receivable" for relations to other positions within the job and not that of the person.

    Again, definitely more of an HR function than anything else, but it bleeds into the common work environment to help employees relate to one another.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.


  • Service Provider

    @NerdyDad said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    To me, a title is merely an HR function than anything because it describes the duties that the job function fulfills.

    But does it. I think the point is more that that is something it directly undermines. Who actually does a job in the modern world that can be accurately described in a job title? Titles that don't exactly describe jobs actually makes HR problems, not solutions.


  • Service Provider

    @NerdyDad said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    Again, definitely more of an HR function than anything else, but it bleeds into the common work environment to help employees relate to one another.

    When do you feel that it really does that, though? Seems like it would be generally better to ask "who do I talk to about shipping" rather than "who explicitly has the title of shipping clerk?"



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @NerdyDad said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    Again, definitely more of an HR function than anything else, but it bleeds into the common work environment to help employees relate to one another.

    When do you feel that it really does that, though? Seems like it would be generally better to ask "who do I talk to about shipping" rather than "who explicitly has the title of shipping clerk?"

    A "Shipping Project Manager" would likely work.


  • Service Provider

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @NerdyDad said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    Again, definitely more of an HR function than anything else, but it bleeds into the common work environment to help employees relate to one another.

    When do you feel that it really does that, though? Seems like it would be generally better to ask "who do I talk to about shipping" rather than "who explicitly has the title of shipping clerk?"

    A "Shipping Project Manager" would likely work.

    If we add "Project Manager" to everything, it means nothing and should be dropped. It's not a good title, though, as it means something specific that almost no one does.

    So it is kind of random. Like calling everyone a secretary or an accountant, but not meaning anything by it and just making it a generic title for all people.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @NerdyDad said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    Again, definitely more of an HR function than anything else, but it bleeds into the common work environment to help employees relate to one another.

    When do you feel that it really does that, though? Seems like it would be generally better to ask "who do I talk to about shipping" rather than "who explicitly has the title of shipping clerk?"

    A "Shipping Project Manager" would likely work.

    If we add "Project Manager" to everything, it means nothing and should be dropped. It's not a good title, though, as it means something specific that almost no one does.

    So it is kind of random. Like calling everyone a secretary or an accountant, but not meaning anything by it and just making it a generic title for all people.

    The article you linked describes it well. I agree with that, but not for All jobs obviously.


  • Service Provider

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.



  • If titles were used to outline business hierarchy and only that it would make sense. But in reality, everyone needs a title. Thus everyone gets a title.

    The entire business title process has be convoluted to make people feel happy and important. When in reality job titles are just a means of outlining the business structure. At least that it what they appear to have originally been created for.



  • I see the need for a title mainly to convey a general gist of what a person does in a short manner.

    If Scott didn't have a title and someone asked - "so, what do you do?" you can say - your title or some long winded explanation of everything you do. Which do you think most people want to hear (even if they don't understand what the title means).

    I do agree with Scott that titles are so frequently wrong that they end up making HR's and other at the company's jobs harder.


  • Service Provider

    @Pete-S said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    That's not what PM means in PM circles. The PM field, the one in which you can get a degree or certification, are not decision makers. They are the lowest people on the project totem pole. They aren't the people who know what is going on, they aren't the ones with domain knowledge. They are the ones managing the process of the project. They don't manage the people, nor the decisions, nor really normally understand the pieces.

    PM is a very specific title with very specific training and certifications. And a PMO is basically the opposite of what you are describing. They are important, but mostly for providing a standardized reporting mechanism to a business and doing loads of paperwork and interfacing with other projects to coordinate.

    Look at a software project. The PM would be in charge of ensuring that everyone outside the project knows the status. Of running meetings. Of tracking process. Of ensuring standardization. Of fighting for resources, etc.

    But the dev lead and the design lead are the ones who actually know what is going on and run the actual work that produces the end result. A PM is only useful when your business is so large that you need someone to manage the "politics" of it. In a truly healthy organization, a PM is practically useless. In the real world, they are super important. But if you have a good team in a normal business, the PM is a function for the "business people" and of little value to actually producing anything.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    If titles were used to outline business hierarchy and only that it would make sense. But in reality, everyone needs a title. Thus everyone gets a title.

    But why? Just eliminate titles, what would change?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    I see the need for a title mainly to convey a general gist of what a person does in a short manner.

    Except titles normally convey confusion, rather than what someone does. Part of the point here is that titles don't mean anything - so they can't be conveying what people do today, since they rarely match that already.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Dashrender said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    I see the need for a title mainly to convey a general gist of what a person does in a short manner.

    Except titles normally convey confusion, rather than what someone does. Part of the point here is that titles don't mean anything - so they can't be conveying what people do today, since they rarely match that already.

    OH I agree with you. But then we're back to the 20-30 min explanation of what you do - which very few people actually care about enough to stand there that long 😛


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Pete-S said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    That's not what PM means in PM circles. The PM field, the one in which you can get a degree or certification, are not decision makers. They are the lowest people on the project totem pole. They aren't the people who know what is going on, they aren't the ones with domain knowledge. They are the ones managing the process of the project. They don't manage the people, nor the decisions, nor really normally understand the pieces.

    Umm wut? No, it is exactly what he stated. That is the entire point of the PM and the PMP certifications.

    PM is a very specific title with very specific training and certifications. And a PMO is basically the opposite of what you are describing. They are important, but mostly for providing a standardized reporting mechanism to a business and doing loads of paperwork and interfacing with other projects to coordinate.

    Only when misused. Once a project is determined and assigned, the PM should be the sole authority on the project. With only normal managerial oversight by whatever group the PM reports to.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    If Scott didn't have a title and someone asked - "so, what do you do?" you can say - your title or some long winded explanation of everything you do. Which do you think most people want to hear (even if they don't understand what the title means).

    Titles are never what fixes that. My title was "Technical Fellow" which meant nothing to lay people outside of academia. It just doesn't help. Even with much clearer titles, I have to explain just as much to people.


  • Service Provider

    @JaredBusch said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Pete-S said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    That's not what PM means in PM circles. The PM field, the one in which you can get a degree or certification, are not decision makers. They are the lowest people on the project totem pole. They aren't the people who know what is going on, they aren't the ones with domain knowledge. They are the ones managing the process of the project. They don't manage the people, nor the decisions, nor really normally understand the pieces.

    Umm wut? No, it is exactly what he stated. That is the entire point of the PM and the PMP certifications.

    Not at all. It's what people outside of those circles often perceive PMs doing, but not what PMs really do.


  • Service Provider

    @JaredBusch said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    PM is a very specific title with very specific training and certifications. And a PMO is basically the opposite of what you are describing. They are important, but mostly for providing a standardized reporting mechanism to a business and doing loads of paperwork and interfacing with other projects to coordinate.

    Only when misused. Once a project is determined and assigned, the PM should be the sole authority on the project. With only normal managerial oversight by whatever group the PM reports to.

    PMs lack the skills to do that. That would end in disaster. PMs trying to be normal managers is a common cause of project failures - because someone who doesn't understand the problem domain gets involved in making decisions that they don't understand.

    PMs are important, but these are the pieces that they can't reasonably do, or at least aren't trained for. And overriding the people whose jobs it is to know and understand those things is where PMs cause disaster. The PM is the advocate for the stakeholders, and the reporter to them. But the stakeholders rarely themselves have the knowledge to run projects, either.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @JaredBusch said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Pete-S said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    That's not what PM means in PM circles. The PM field, the one in which you can get a degree or certification, are not decision makers. They are the lowest people on the project totem pole. They aren't the people who know what is going on, they aren't the ones with domain knowledge. They are the ones managing the process of the project. They don't manage the people, nor the decisions, nor really normally understand the pieces.

    Umm wut? No, it is exactly what he stated. That is the entire point of the PM and the PMP certifications.

    Not at all. It's what people outside of those circles often perceive PMs doing, but not what PMs really do.

    Honestly I don't know which it really is.

    Before seeing this thread - I would have stated the same thing Scott did - they run the process of the project, run the meetings, file reports on status, but aren't really involved in the project itself. The Project/team Lead is in charge - they owned the budget, etc.

    Now - with this argument, I haven't a clue which is right.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @JaredBusch said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Pete-S said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @Obsolesce said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    There is no question that job titles matter, but why do we even have them? Having bad titles makes us confused and unproductive. Having good ones doesn't help very much because few people understand them. In IT especially, even the department of IT, let alone jobs within it, have titles that mean nothing and often less than nothing to outsiders and even many insiders.

    At Tesla, Elon Musk recently did away with his titles because they are useless. And Quartz suggests that job titles actively get in the way of knowledge workers getting things done.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk is raising an important question about job titles

    We discuss job titles here a lot, and we know that it is important not to have a bad one. But what if you didn't have one, at all? We know why getting it wrong causes problems, lots of them. But it seems like getting it right only prevents the problems caused by getting it wrong. Does having a good one provide any benefits over having none at all?

    I struggle with this myself and my title has often been "Technical Lead" or "Technical Fellow", which is descriptive in executive or academic circles, but to most people means essentially nothing. They aren't even sure if I'm a tech. Or a manager. It's not clear to the general public. And maybe it shouldn't be.

    When making business cards, we've talked about leaving titles off completely. Job titles tend to pigeon hole us, and add complexity that need not exist. Few people, in any field or company of any size, really do a single job that can be easily summed up in a job title. Even when I worked in fast food, hotels, or grocery businesses, my work was too broad for a single title to clarify. In business and IT, everyone seems to wear so many hats.

    What if... we just didn't use titles anymore? What are they even for, anyway?

    "Project Manager" for all does make sense though. That's a good point in the article.

    I read it, but didn't find any reason for why they chose such a meaningless term. In fact, reading the article, it describes why people shouldn't have that title. Because nearly everyone works on projects and makes decisions - two things that project managers don't do. PMs aren't the decision makers, and aren't generally on "a project." They manage the project process itself, they are the one job that doesn't do the things that the article talks about.

    So from the description, everyone should be "on a project" - instead of being a project manager. It sounds like some academic who didn't know what a PM was read that and then applied the story to a title that doesn't match what was being discussed.

    There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    That's not what PM means in PM circles. The PM field, the one in which you can get a degree or certification, are not decision makers. They are the lowest people on the project totem pole. They aren't the people who know what is going on, they aren't the ones with domain knowledge. They are the ones managing the process of the project. They don't manage the people, nor the decisions, nor really normally understand the pieces.

    Umm wut? No, it is exactly what he stated. That is the entire point of the PM and the PMP certifications.

    Not at all. It's what people outside of those circles often perceive PMs doing, but not what PMs really do.

    Honestly I don't know which it really is.

    Before seeing this thread - I would have stated the same thing Scott did - they run the process of the project, run the meetings, file reports on status, but aren't really involved in the project itself. The Project/team Lead is in charge - they owned the budget, etc.

    Now - with this argument, I haven't a clue which is right.

    As someone who did his master's work in PM, and has been offered the head of the PMO for a Fortune 100, it's very clear what the training and certs are for. Very different than the common perception. To people outside of PM circles, the view of PMs is very much that they run the show. In PM training, it's much more like being a stakeholder liaison and a team secretary. You organize things, run meetings, produce reports, ensure people are staying on targets, making people produce targets, fighting for timelines internally and externally, acquiring resources... but not directly managing the project, that would be a confused PM that didn't know what their role was.



  • A Project Lead is there to keep timelines, budgets make decisions based on information reported back. A PM is as was stated: "There are heavy inflation in titles but Project Manager is pretty clear cut to me. It means you have a budget that you are responsible for, it means you have resources, it means you are responsible for the outcome and it means you are the decision maker for matters that are within the project mandate. The project manager should be the CEO of the project. So most people working on projects are not project managers. And some project managers are just project administrators, not managers.

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful."

    Any project can have 1 Project Lead, but several PM's based on the scale of the project. I'm acting as a PM for an on-going project now. Taking notes, providing input and leaving the decision to the people at charge. Unless I'm told I have the authority to make the decision.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in Why Job Titles Matter, and Don't.:

    PMs also needs domain knowledge. A lot if they are going to be successful.

    Problem is, they have to have so much that it makes no sense for them to be a PM if they have enough to gets their hands dirty.

    Getting a PMP or a degree in PM doesn't normally involve domain training, certainly not enough to be a good idea for those folks to get in and mess with projects internally.

    A real PMO has loads of PM knowledge, but nearly no domain knowledge. PMOs work as a pool resource, not one PM for each problem domain.



  • My current title is IT Manager. Currently, the only thing I am managing is the infrastructure and all it entails.