What is a Project Manager
One who manages projects is a project manager! Is that true? In other words, anyone who manages a project or projects is a project manager? As per the defnition, yes. A project manager manages projects. However, one can and should argue that, the simple fact one is called a project manager or the simple fact that one manages projects does not make one a project manager!
Let us explain this.
First of all we have to consider whether the project is indeed a project. See What is a project? If whatever it is one manages does not fit the definiton of a project one can not be considered a project manager.
Secondly, the activities one does need to constitute "managing". See What is Project Management? In other words, if whatever it is one does cannot be considered "managing or taking care of or or handling", one can not be considered a project manager.
The next problem we encounter with this is that the term/profession 'project manager' is not a protected/regulated profession such as medical doctor or engineer, nurse or Colonel. Nor does it appear in many national and international job classifications. Anyone can call herself a project manager. Subsequently a lot of people do. A lot of them would not pass the simple litmus tests above. This (self) proclaiming and naming problem will not be solved (does it need solving?) unless there is a need to do so. So far that does not seem the case.
Good efforts are being made worldwide in defining what a project manager is or should be. Some examples are the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB®) and the GAPPS Project Manager Standard. Both PMI's A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) and ISO's ISO 21500:2012 Guidance on project management do mention the role of the project manager but not in depth.
For all purposes and intent we will stick with the simple definition of a Project Manager being someone who manages a project. In subsequent chapters we will explore a bit more what makes project manager differ from other managers and types of skills, competences and attitudes a project manager may want to posses and/or develop.