The professional role of project managers is becoming increasingly defined, and higher demands are being put on project managers within organisations. There is now expectation that project managers will have undertaken specific project management training.
With this increased professionalism amongst project managers comes upset when the term is misused. The Apprentice is one such example.
Over the last few years, team leaders on the Apprentice have gradually started calling themselves Project Managers, and this is now consistent throughout the series. Trained and certified project managers object to the term, citing that the Apprentice undervalues the profession because the candidates don’t use any defined project management framework or techniques.
Further to this, there is some debate about whether the weekly tasks can even be called projects due to their short and sales-based nature.
Defining a project
It’s very important for managers to recognise a project before it starts, and to assign a project manager to oversee it. Conversely, it’s important not to make a mountain out of a molehill by assigning the word ‘project’ to everyday, ongoing tasks.
Type “what is a project?” into Google and you get the definition “An individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim.” If you look at it in those terms then, yes, the weekly tasks on the Apprentice can be called projects. They are collaborative enterprises and they do have to achieve an aim – to make the more money than the other team.
In the business sense of a project, though, the case is less clear. Wikipedia’s definition of a project in relation to project management is “a management environment that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to a specified business case”. On The Apprentice, the projects are so hurried and seemingly, slapdash, that no real management environment is created. Read the rest of “What is a Project? Defining Projects and Project Managers”