In the second of his posts as our February Guest Blogger, John Chapman picks up the theme of ‘the project manager as …’ to explore our perception of project and programme managers; how we see them and how they see themselves.


The Chief Provocation Officer

“In previous blogs I have written of the different roles in a project, the importance of subject matter experts and referenced the PRINCE2 Project management methodology.

The project team titles are by their nature uninspiring (For roles see).  They need to be, as their definition enables usage across multiple business sectors. Senior User, Project Executive or Team Manager, for example, does not bring to mind any particular outcomes.

What if we took a different view? The project role title is creatively written to represent the work that is undertaken.

Project role An inspiring title
Project Executive Big Kahuna
Project Manager Chief Motivation Officer
Project planner Great Seer of Seers
Trainer Crusader in people improvement
Senior IT Chief Propeller Head [1]
Subject Matter Expert Knowledge purveyor
Solution Architect Deep Thinker
Change Authority Keeping the vision
Project Assurance Inquisitor General
Business Intelligence Analyst Diamond Cutter
Communications Officer The great persuader

[1] A propeller head (also spelled propellor head , and sometimes shortened to prop head or prophead) is jargon for someone who is exceptionally, perhaps weirdly bright or knowledgeable, especially in some technical field.

The inspiring job title is only the start. Now we need to consider job descriptions.

For example:

The project planner

As a project planner, am I preparing a list of activities, with resource assignments, dates, and durations to be printed out and viewed?  No it is something much more significant.

A project plan is of crucial importance.  It considers, from multiple perspectives, what needs to be done, by whom and when, to deliver an outcome defined in the business case. The result of which, when followed, means we can predict what that part of the future will look like.

This is not a project planner.

This is the forecaster of the future, the soothsayer, the great seer of seers.

The Trainer

Is the role of the trainer to run structured training courses? To read a script, turning each page, explaining by rote, which keys to press on the keyboard.


The role is to work with the individuals in the organisation. Identify how the software solution, combined with the business processes, create a productive, meaningful working environment. To understand the context of the project and its outcomes, to demonstrate how, what as mundane are now turned into enriching, interesting activities, adding to the individual’s skill sets, improving the organisations performance, creating a better life for all.

This is not a trainer,

This is a crusader in people improvement.

Business Intelligence Analyst

The role of the business intelligence analyst is to analyse and model data from disparate sources, to create graphical analysis of the content and present to those who require information. The information will provide the ability to improve decision making thereby delivering more meaningful results.


This is a diamond miner, cutter and jeweller. An individual searching within the depths of databases, feeder systems, incoming social media sources, for rich, valuable content. Digging through the millions of transaction lines, to identify rich, uncut, previously unseen data and extract it out in a raw form. Like a diamond cutter, who transforms ‘a rough diamond into a brilliant, faceted display of light’, they create a beautiful model of information, one of immense business value.

This is not a business intelligence analyst

This is a diamond cutter


Consider your own role at work. What are you there to deliver? Is there a job title which would be rousing and inspiring? One that motivates you, sending a message out to the world as to who you really are.

John Chapman, MIoD, MAPM, FISM, BSc (Hons)
(Project adventurer, trailblazer and innovator)
Programme Director, TouchstoneFMS Ltd

Follow John on Linkedin

Read John’s first post – Are Project Managers Anarchists and Punk Rockers in disguise?

Read John’s third post – Fight Director or Peacemaker?

Read John’s fourth post – The Flight Safety Announcement

Read John’s final post – The Head of the Disciplinary Committtee

About TouchstoneFMS

Touchstone FMS Ltd is a leading business systems and IT consultancy specialising in the delivery of Financial ERP, Business Intelligence and Procurement software solutions; ongoing support and managed services, on premise and in the cloud. Based in London, with customers all over the UK and Channel Islands, we work with leading software authors to ensure our customers have the best solutions for their business. Our emphasis is on building partnerships, supporting customers through their digital transformation journey and long into the future.

Watch the video version of this blog: