I’m a project manager why do I need domain knowledge for?

Riz Tabley
4 min readMar 16, 2024

It’s an age-old argument within project management. As a project manager, is it important to have domain knowledge of the sector or area you’re working in? Or is being a professional project managers

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I think the idea that you need to be a subject matter expert in the area you’re managing probably came from the period before project management was organized as a profession. Subject matter experts, like engineers were given projects to run as they were deemed suitable to deliver them successfully due to their expertise in engineering.

Or the classic ‘accidental project manager’, where a subject matter expert is asked to deliver a project and will act as project manager, subject matter expert and business analyst.

There is no clear definition of domain knowledge. Wikipedia defines it as “…knowledge of a specific discipline or field in contrast to general (or domain-independent) knowledge. The term is often used in reference to a more general discipline — for example, in describing a software engineer who has general knowledge of computer programming as well as domain knowledge about developing programs for a particular industry. People with domain knowledge are often regarded as specialists or experts in their field.”1

Benefits of having domain knowledge