As I dig deeper into my dissertation research, I have been wondering whether the soft skills emerging as key to project success could help project management become a profession. Despite what PMI may tell us, I agree with Paul Giammalvo that project management is not a profession. As Paul states, we need to stop relying on credentials to define a project manager. Results are what matter.
Credentials aren't the answer
Credentials for project managers can provide a common lexicon for project managers. It gives us a set of terms, tools, and processes that apply across projects. However, they are unable to help us manage the project for success. The processes and tools are lagging indicators to say where we have been on the project, not where we want to go and how to make that vision a reality.
Context-specific management techniques
The bridge from credentials to a project management profession may be soft skills that help project managers achieve project success with their teams. Project managers need to develop the ability to define success proactively with their stakeholders, encourage the project team to work effectively together, and manage the project processes. Once we can define how this works in a repeatable way, we can start making progress toward becoming a profession.