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This is Charlie Davidson’s guest post.

The basics of a T-Shaped Individual
What does it mean for a Project Manager to be a T-shaped manager?
Why is it important to have T-Shaped Project Managers?
Which T-Shaped Project Managers are the most effective?
How can you improve your T-Shaped project management skills?
Wrapping up

Charlie DavidsonHave a you ever heard of a T shaped developer?
This is a common phrase in software development. It refers to a developer who has extensive experience in their role, but is also highly skilled in a specific area.
The horizontal bar of the letter “T” indicates their wider skill set. The vertical bar indicates more specialized and extraordinary skills.
This image may be helpful if you have difficulty understanding the visual reference.
A T-shaped Developer’s ability to work in multiple areas of a Development Team while still focusing on one area is highly valued.
But what if we apply the same principle for Project Management?
The basics of a T-Shaped Individual
It’s important to understand the differences between T-shaped people and others. How can we classify people who don’t look like T-shaped people? What are the differences between I-shaped and T-shaped people?
1. Individuals who are I-Shaped have deep knowledge of one subject.
2. Generalists, which I believe we’ll struggle find a letter that matches them, can do many tasks but specialize in none.
T-shaped people allow us to accomplish more with the same amount of people. Or you can do the same amount of work with less people.
Why? Experts excel at parachuting in and removing bottlenecks. They can quickly fix the problem the first time.
Not every task needs an expert. Generalists can take over tasks and make experts available to handle bottlenecks.
Experts and non-experts will find more T-shaped people. T-shaped people can adapt and move faster than those without them.
What does it mean for a Project Manager to be a T-shaped manager?
There are many ways to think about T-shaped Project Managers.
The first is to evaluate all Project Manager skills within the Project Management framework.
This scenario could include items like Kanban, Scrum and Sigma Six or PMBOK standards. The core focus would be on one management framework or concept.
Jeff Sutherland is a great example. Jeff Sutherland, who co-founded Scrum, has been a specialist in the subject for more than 30 years and has written numerous books about the topic. However, he still has some working knowledge of other Project Management skills.
This approach is not something I like. We as Project Managers need to have a comprehensive toolkit of processes and systems in order to find the right ones for each project.
Another approach is to view Project Management as a deep skill. A T-shaped Project Manager is specialized in managing complex projects.
What is the broad skill set? Well, it depends.
Project managers typically work in one industry. Each sector requires a different set of skills.
Let me give you an example of my industry: the digital sector. Here, we create complex websites and portals. Our teams are experts in User Experience, Creative Design and Technical, Systems, as well as Commercial skills.
Digital Project Managers who are able to relate to each skill are the ones who thrive in this industry.
They are in fact T-shaped Project Managers.
A T-shaped Project Manager has a working knowledge about the skills of their team. They are not as skilled as their colleagues, but they have a good understanding of best practices and concepts.
Why is it important to have T-Shaped Project Managers?
Project Managers that are T-shaped have many advantages.
A Project Manager can draw insights from their team to have a better grasp of a project’s progress than I-shaped specialists. This is great for working with stakeholders