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There is a constant and often heated debate within the community about whether P3 management is a profession or not. Those who argue against it are talking about a Profession with a capital ‘P’ where ‘Professionals’ need a licence to practice and can be sued for negligence. Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants amongst others fall into this category of Professional.
But there are many other definitions of the term professional, the simplest being simply that someone is paid to do a job in contrast to an amateur who is not.
P3 management meets many of the requirements of a profession, such as:
- it can be a full-time occupation;
- there are university courses for different aspects of P3 management;
- associations exist at local, national and international levels;
- codes of professional ethics exist and are adhered to;
- schemes exist to verify knowledge and competence to practise.
This debate is largely academic. What is important is the attitude of people who manage projects, programmes and portfolios, and no-one would argue that that attitude should not be ‘professional’ – even if it does only have a small ‘p’.
This section of context addresses different aspects of creating a professional attitude amongst everyone involved in projects, programmes and portfolios. Not just the managers, but team members, sponsors and stakeholders. In Praxis, references to ‘the profession’ mean those who practise the discipline P3 management with a professional attitude, where ‘the discipline’ is the set of methods, tools and techniques employed by the profession.
To promote professionalism, this section describes:
Communities of practice: groups of people who come together to exchange knowledge and develop both themselves and the profession;
Competence: the means by which an individual can understand what they need to do and roles can be defined;
Ethics: understanding acceptable behaviour for a professional;
Learning and development: how competent professionals need to be trained and continuously developed.