Profession of Project Managers in the Baltic Countries – Problems and Perspectives


By Emils Pulmanis

PhD.cand., MSc.proj.mgmt., University of Latvia

Deputy Director of Project Implementation and Monitoring Department, State Regional Development Agency (Latvia)

Member of board of directors of Professional Association of Project Managers (Latvia)

International Correspondent for PM World Journal

Riga, Latvia


As a project management expert in recent days following the field of news in project management I have read an interesting article on Arras People newsletter. Arras People had analysed a recent headline from an article published by the Sunday Telegraph, by Peter Hepworth from AXELOS, which said that, “we are all project managers now”. For this autumn’s Project Challenge in London (The UK’s Leading independent show for projects, programmes, process and resource 14 – 15 October 2014, Olympia, London), Arras People took this headline and examined what this statement could mean and more importantly how it may impact you as a project practitioner.

By reading the article I started again thinking about the project managers’ profession in the Baltic States and how the system had developed in recent years. I definitely could agree with experts and my reaction to the statement, “we are all project managers now” as well as from many other project practitioners is of course we are not! But meanwhile there is no restriction for anybody to call themselves a project manager. On daily base I have met several project managers and when it comes to description of duties and position I have realized that it’s all far away from what the project manager profession means and what project managers do.

Of course there are no doubts that project management is a part of bigger management system and tasks could overlay between disciplines. And we shouldn’t argue about project management knowledge and skills; more or less we all have some of those skills, but still it doesn’t make you a real project manager, I mean professional project manager. Professional project manager is an expert who uses and applies project management tools and technics in his daily work. In Latvia as well as in other Baltic countries (Lithuania, Estonia) I have found out that employers (especially in private sector) make a project manager position for duties what could be described as marketing specialist, HR specialist, PR specialist, project manager assistant, project coordinator, IT specialists and etc. Use of project managers’ profession name is attractive to many employees; it makes you feel more important than just some worker or field specialist. And that makes an impact on project management system and profession itself.

On November 6th, 2014 we have celebrated international project management day and it’s a good time to look back on project management development and the importance of project managers as a profession. Further on in this article I will emphasize the background and situation in EU member state Latvia.


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About the Author                                                        

141119-pmwj29-Pulmanis-PHOTOEmils Pulmanis flag-latvia-riga

Riga, Latvia

Emils Pulmanis is a member of the board of the Professional Association of Project Managers in Latvia and Deputy Director of the Project Implementation and Control Department at the State Regional Development Agency of Latvia. He has gained a BSc. in engineer economics, a professional master’s degree in project management (MSc.proj.mgmt) and currently is a PhD candidate with a specialization in project management. He has elaborated and directed a number of domestic and foreign financial instruments co-financed projects. He was a National coordinator for a European Commission-funded program – the European Union’s financial instruments PHARE program in Latvia. Over the past seven years he has worked in the public administration project control and monitoring field. He was a financial instrument expert for the Ministry of Welfare and the European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanism implementation authority as well as an expert for the Swiss – Latvian cooperation program as a NGO grant scheme project evaluation expert.

Emils has gained international and professional project management experience in Germany, the United States and Taiwan. In addition to his professional work, he is also a lecturer at the University of Latvia for the professional master study program in Project management. He has authored more than 25 scientific publications and is actively involved in social activities as a member of various NGO’s. Since November 2014 Emils is also an International Correspondent for the PM World Journal in Latvia. Emils can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Emils Pulmanis, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/emils-pulmanis/.