Senior is a vibe, not a title.

A lot of PMs in the industry have the SPM title, but what they actually do is mindlessly execute the roadmap set by their CEOs. They are nothing but glorified project managers.

Whenever someone complains to me that they are stuck in their PM role and have not been able to get a bigger charter and hence the title of an SPM, I ask them:

  1. Look at the last 5 projects your team executed. How many of them were put in the backlog by you?
  2. When was the last time you set up a new process to improve the effeciency of your team?
  3. When was the last time you changed the mind of your manager/CEO on something? (BTW everyone can answer this question in an interview because they prepared some made up story. I want them to answer this honestly.)
  4. Do they shy away from more responsibilities and work or are they the go to person for their manager when it comes to delivery of big projects?
  5. When was the last time they ran a project that had a company wide impact?
  6. Does their skip manager know they exist?
  7. Do they identify industry trends and change their roadmap accordingly or do wait on their CEO to tell them what to do?
  8. Do they create new scope or are they mindlessly moved around thanks to endless reorgs?
  9. If they pick up a project, can their manager rely on them to deliver? The amount of micromanagement by their manager can let them know where they stand.
  10. When was the last time they sat with their dashboads just to satisfy their curiosity and not to reply to some exec who wanted some data?

The answers to these will tell you where you stand and whether you are a SPM or not. In these bubble times, everyone has got an inflated salary and an inflated title. When the tide turns, it will be on all of us to show how much we are truly worth and what value we bring to the table.

Hence focus on the role first and not the title. If you have the vibe, the title will follow.