Study of Myers-Briggs Types Relative to CM Professionals (2007)

Mario Moreira conducted a study of CM professionals to find out what similarities and differences could be found between them. He then compared those results with what he learned from a similar study he conducted four years prior, to see what has changed, and what's stayed the same.

In 2003, I completed what I believe to be the first-ever study on the Myers-Briggs types of CM professionals that included input from 144 CM professionals (a link to the 2003 article can be found in the Reference section).  It is now 2007, approximately 4 years later and I introduce the second such study which includes input from 87 CM professionals. 

The key objectives of this study are to:

    • Identify if there are common traits (using Myers-Briggs) amongst those professionals who work in the CM field
    • Identify if there are difference traits (using Myers-Briggs) between those playing CM process roles vs. CM tool roles
    • Compare results from a 2003 study with the results from this 2007 study and use it to validate (or not) the common personality traits identified in the first study.  

The input has been received and tabulated.  The results are in...   

Overview of Myers-Briggs
Before we jump into the data, a baseline of information on Myers-Briggs is provided for understanding.  "The development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator required the imagination and drive of two very gifted women, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. The original concept for the Type Indicator evolved from Katharine Cook Briggs's extensive studies of contemporary children's educational and social

developmental theories. She combined these with the theories of the prominent
psychologist Carl Jung to develop a testing method to help determine the best vocation for a child, what she saw as a key to their future happiness and well being. She was joined in this effort by her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers in the late 1920's and early 1930's as she began raising a family of her own. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI] began life as the Briggs-Myers Type Indicator Test, which Katharine and Isabel constantly worked on further refining with the assistance of Edward Laney (a manager at The Pennsylvania Company who was the first to utilize and apply the MBTI concept to personnel management) under the auspices of Briggs-Myers Type Research, Inc. The
name changed was to ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator' in the late 1940's. From there it grew in several stages: in association with Educational Testing Service during the late 1950's and into the early 1960's, later publication through the Consulting Psychologist Press, establishment of the Typology Lab at the University of Florida in conjunction with Dr. Mary H. McCaulley, and the Center for Applications of Psychological  Type (CAPT) in Gainesville, FL." (University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries Special Collections,
Isabel Briggs Myers Papers Manuscript Group 64). 

As a summary, the following is a brief overview of the specific Myers Briggs personality types.  The Myers Briggs model of personality is based on examining 4 preference sets. The preference sets include:

    • Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E) - Do you direct your energies outwardly with words (E) or inwardly with thoughts (I)?  Do you gain energy in social settings (E) or in private or focused activities (I)?
    • Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) - Are you interested in tangible facts and focus on the present (S) or are you more interested in the future, focusing on what might be (N)?
    • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) - Do you make decisions on logic and objective reasoning (T) or do you make decisions on personal values, subjective, and sympathetic reasoning (F)?
    • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) - Is your life organized in a structured way (J) or in a more flexible way (P)?  Do you feel the need to conclude a task or make a decision (J) or do you prefer to find out more and keep your options open (P)?

Personality Types and Population Distribution
The above preferences combine to create a possibility of 16 personality types known as the Myers Briggs Type Indicators® (MBTI®).  Below is a chart that illustrates the 16 combinations or MBTI® and the percentage of the general population that has a specific personality type:


 Chart 1: Myers Briggs Type Indicators®
and General Population

An important factor to personality types may be to group Myers Briggs types by temperament.  According to David Keirsey, each of the 16 MBTI® personality types are divided into one of four basic temperaments according to the following preference pairs:

2: Temperaments

The reason Keirsey grouped them this way is that he believed that the 2 preference combinations may be drivers to understanding the motivation of a person.  Temperaments do not replace types, but are built to reinforce and support them.  A way to view all 16 MBTI® personality types in relation to their Temperament is to separate them into the 4 temperament quadrants which looks like the following:
3: Temperaments Quadrants


Key Questions
The questions that I hope to answer include:

    • How are CM professionals spread across the 16 MBTI® personality types?  Are we clustered into certain personality types?  How do CM professionals compare with the general population as a percentage within each type?
    • How are CM professionals spread across the Temperament Quadrants?  Are we clustered into certain quadrants?  How do CM professionals compare with the general population as a percentage within each quadrant?
    • How are CM professionals spread across the specific preferences?  Do we favor one preference over another? 
    • Are there differences in MBTI® personality types between the CM process roles versus the CM tool roles?
    • How does the 2003 results compare to the 2007 results.  Will the 2007 results validate the 2003 results or will they differ? 

The 2007 Results
I received 87 responses from CM professionals from across the world who offered their Myers Briggs personality types.  This provided a good sample in which to work.  The
request to folks was to provide their Myers Briggs type and the general category of CM role they primarily played.   I also directed people to a link to the "Jung - Myers-Briggs typological test" found at although the results from any Myers-Briggs test was acceptable. 

CM Professionals by Personality Type
The first measure uses the 87 responses and produces a pie chart to indicate the percentage of CM professionals in each MBTI®.  This was then ranked according to which types were most prevalent amongst CM professionals.  The following chart illustrates this:

Chart 4: Myers-Briggs
Personality Types amongst CM'ers

Types Distribution by
Percentage - 2007


The data indicates a surprising number (28 or 32% of the total sample) of CM  professionals who have an INTJ personality type.  Why might this be?  Looking more closely at those who have an INTJ type may reveal why those people may either gravitate or thrive in a CM role.  The thinking (T) and judging (J) preferences tend to drive them toward constant improvement.  They believe everything has room for improvement.  Also, their intuition (N) tends to enable them to see the potential in the future and the introverted nature (I) allows them to focus on improvements.  And in the CM world, there is always something to improve and having the vision to see what "can be" provides those in the INTJ grouping the motivation to make that improvement.  

The data indicates another surprising number (11 or 13% of the total sample) of CM professionals who have an ENTJ personality type.  Again, the thinking (T) and judging (J)
preferences tend to drive them toward improvement.  Also, their intuition (N) tends to enable them to see what can be.  And their extroverted nature (E) allows them to take control of the change due to their natural born leadership. 

Third is ESFJ.  The data indicates that 9 or 10% of the total sample has this personality type.  Upon closer inspection, an ESFP "uses their Sensing (S) and Judging (J) characteristics to gather specific, detailed information about others, and turn this information into supportive judgments. They are extremely good at reading others, and understanding their point of view.  The ESFJ takes their responsibilities very seriously, and is very dependable. They have a strong focus on the details of life. They see before others do what needs to be done, and do whatever it takes to make sure that it gets done." This seems to be good characteristics for CM professionals. 

An interesting note is that even with 87 responses, not 1 CM professional had the personality type of ESFP.  This was also true in the 2003 study.  This may imply that ESFP types do not gravitate to CM work.  Why would that be?  Upon closer inspection, an ESFP is a "spontaneous, optimistic individual. They love to have fun. They tend to become over-indulgent, and place more importance on immediate sensation and gratification than on their duties and obligations. They may also avoid looking at long-term consequences of their actions do not like structure and routine."  Given this information, it is reasonable to understand why ESFP may not want the duty bound and structured work that is a major part of CM work.

Note: comments by some of the participants to keep in mind are that there may be folks with certain Myers-Briggs types or those with certain preferences that do not respond to surveys.  This may make it hard to determine the true MBTI® distribution amongst CM Professionals. 

Comparing CM Professionals M-B Types for 2003 vs. 
This compares the 2007 results with the 2003 results.  Interestingly enough, we see remarkable similarities between results even after a 4 year gap.  As you can see from the comparative chart below, in 2003, INTJ was the number 1 Myers-Briggs type for CM professionals in both years with a slight increase from 27% compared to 32% in 2007.  ENTJ was in second in both years but slipped a little from 17% to 13%.  Surprisingly

ESTJ gained significantly from 5% in 2003 to 10% in 2007.   Many of the remaining MBTI® for CM professionals stayed unexpectedly the same. 


5: MBTI® of CM Professional Sample in 2003 vs. 2007
Comparing CM Professionals M-B Types to Overall Population 
This measure illustrates how CM professionals are spread across the 16 Myers Briggs types (as a percentage) compared to the overall population. 

6: MBTI and CM Professional Sample Population vs. Overall Population

What can be noticed by this chart is that the distribution of the MBTI® of the CM professional sample does not align with the distribution of the Myers Briggs types of the overall population.  Several significant differences can be seen. 

According to these findings, the CM population (per the sample) is 32 times more likely
to be INTJ types than the overall population (32% for CM professionals and 1% for overall population). This is quite remarkable.  Also ESFP and ESTP appear to be very uncommon
in the CM population (0% and 2% respectively) compared to the overall population (13% and 13% respectively).   

Note: the percentages of Myers Brigs types across the population vary from reference
source to reference source.  The percentages listed here are representative averages across the reference sources.    

Comparing CM Tools vs. CM Process 
The next question focuses on determining the differences in Myers-Briggs types between the CM process roles versus the CM tool roles?  Within the CM process role, this included CM Process Champions (local or enterprise level) and CM Managers.  Within the CM tool role, this included CM Tool Engineers, Build/Release Engineers, and CM Architects.  When tabulating the results, numerous people indicated that they do both process and tool tasks so this input was included in both the CM Process and CM Tool roles. 


Chart 7: Comparing MBTI of CM Process
Roles vs. CM Tools Roles

The results were very interesting.  I had hypothesized that the CM tool roles would include a higher percentage of INTJ (introverts really focused on completing their work).  However as the chart indicated, it was the CM Process roles that tallied 46% of the MBTI® as INTJs.  That is almost half of the sample size!  This is amazing.  The next highest was ESFJ at 15%, then much smaller percentages followed (no higher than 5%).   

For the CM Tool role, the INTJ type also had the highest percentage of folks (25%) within this sample.  However, this was a more diverse group that included a fair amount of folks in other types.  This includes 14% in ENTJ, 14% in ESFJ, 10% for ISTJ, 7% for INFJ, and
7% for INTP. 

Comparing CM Professionals by Temperament to the General Population
More telling than the comparison of the population groups (overall vs. CM professionals) by Myer Briggs types is the comparison of population by temperament (grouping of related types).  Therefore, this measure compares how CM professionals are spread across the 4 temperaments (as a percentage) in relation to the overall population.


Chart 8: Temperament and CM
Professional Sample Population vs. Overall Population

What can be noticed from this chart is that there are a significant number of CM professionals expressing the NT or Rational (and Mastermind) temperament (53% of CM professionals vs. 8% of the overall population).  Why might this be?  In examining the traits of NT, the Rational tends to value competence and intelligence, they strive to learn, grow and predict.  They like to control their environment and have a tendency towards technology.  Considering these traits and the traits needed to make a CM professional successful, it may be understandable why there are so many Rationals within the CM field.  

Inversely, very few CM professionals express the SP or Artisan (and Freelance) temperament in comparison to the overall population (7% of CM professionals vs. 40% overall).  In examining the traits of SP, the Artisan values freedom and spontaneity. They do not like constraints, are more impulsive, playful, and creative, and have a tendency toward the arts.  Considering these traits and the traits favored to make a CM professional successful, it may be understandable why there are so few Artisans within the CM field.  However, do note that 7% in 2007 is up from 3% in 2003. 

Note: the percentages of temperaments across the population vary from reference source to reference source.  The percentages listed here are representative averages across the reference sources.     

CM Professionals by Preferences
The next measure focuses on the individual preferences of the responses and examines if there is a leaning toward specific preferences.  The outcome is quite interesting in that it results in a strong propensity toward certain preferences. 


9: Percentage of CM Professionals by Preference

Overall there are surprising differences in the percentage of CM professionals expressing one type of preference over another.  The following explores each preference set more thoroughly:

    • The Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) preference-set produced the most statistically meaningful difference.  A tally of 79% of the CM Professionals surveyed exhibited a leaning toward a Judging preference.  This may imply that CM professionals gravitate toward jobs or tasks that ask them to establish a level of structure and provides them with a working environment where concluding tasks and making decisions are the norm. 
    • This may stem from the multitasking environment most CM professionals
    • work where the completion of a task allows more focus on completing other tasks.  This is relatively steady from the 2003 survey where 76% were Extroverted and 24% were Introverted.    
    • The Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) preference-set also produced a statistically meaningful difference.  A tally of 69% of CM professionals surveyed exhibited a proclivity of having an Intuition preference.  This may imply that many CM professionals are forward thinking from the point that they are motivated by perceived improvements in the future and less focused on the existing conditions today. However, it is important to note that this is down from 78% tallied in the 2003 study.
    • The Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) preference-set again produced a meaningful difference.  A tally of 68% of the CM Professionals surveyed indicated the Thinking preference.  This may imply that due to the relatively
    • technical and procedural nature of CM work, the ability of making decisions using logic and objective reasoning attracts and keeps this type of person in the CM field.  This is relatively steady from the 2003 survey where 72% were Extroverted and 28% were Introverted.     
    • The Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E) preference-set difference is not considered significant.  A tally of 64% of the CM Professionals surveyed exhibited a leaning toward the Introvert preference, although a fair number exhibited an outward Extrovert preference.  Since CM roles and responsibilities range from intensive focused technical tasks to external communication of plans and procedures, it may be appropriate to have a good balance of the two.  This is relatively steady from the 2003 survey where 62% were Extroverted and 38% were Introverted. 

A conclusion drawn from the survey may indicate that if a person has the Myers-Briggs individual preferences of introvert (I), intuition (N), thinking (T), judging (J) or more specifically the latter three preferences (NTJ) may be suited to work in the CM field.  

To corroborate this, those CM professionals in this survey that indicated an INTJ type accounted for 32% of the total responses.  Combining this with those that have the ENTJ type (another 13%), then the NTJ grouping accounts for 45% of all responses.  Given that these (INTJ and ENTJ) are only two of the sixteen possible types or 12.5% (of the 16 types), this is a significant difference. 

To make this difference even more meaningful, consider that the general population has 7% INTJ and ENTJ types (from Chart 1 where INTJ = 1% and ENTJ =
6%).  However, the CM professional population has 45% INTJ and ENTJ types. 
This is quite a dramatic difference.  There is clearly some correlation between the type of work CM professionals perform and those who express NTJ preferences.

In addition, the results of the CM Process roles versus the CM Tool roles indicate the CM Tool role grouping is somewhat diverse across several MBTI® while the CM Process role grouping indicates an exceptional high percentage of folks in the INTJ type. 

What is also clear from 2003 to 2007 is that the initial data collected in 2003 had been validated by the 2007 data.  While there are some variations, many data points are similar given the 4 year gap. 

I would like to invite others to utilize or extend this study so that we can better understand the traits and needs of CM professionals.          

Lastly, I would like to extend a great-big "Thank You" to the 87 CM professionals who took the time out of their busy schedules to contribute their Myer Briggs types. 


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