March 1 2011


Project Management and Processes

Core competencies in project management

Welcome to another PMLOGY® article. This particular article focuses on project management competency models.

The vast majority of project managers come from technical fields such as IT, engineering or science. By necessity and through experience, many find themselves working as project managers. That’s why project management is often referred to as the “accidental profession.” All too often, project management is learned on the spot, through trial and error.

The good news is there are project management courses to address this situation. But, more important, there are structured ways of evaluating project managers using competency models.

PMLOGY® definition:

Competency model: A model developed using the observable behaviour of professional project managers who are successful in their projects. The model enables a structured and coherent assessment of a project manager’s skills (for current or potential projects).
Although there are several different models, one of the most comprehensive is unquestionably the one put forth by the Project Management Institute (PMI): the Project Manager Competency Development Framework, 2nd Edition.

This model includes 2 categories:
1. project management competencies
2. personal competencies

Project management competencies are evaluated using 5 process groups: initiating, planning, executing, and closing a project. For each process group, a series of competencies is objectively evaluated using specific criteria and indicators.

 Project management competencies - Technologia

Figure 1 : Project Management Competencies

Where personal skills (soft skills) are concerned, 6 categories have been defined. A series of observable behaviour is assessed as part of these categories.

 Personal competencies - Technologia

Figure 2 : Personal Competencies

There are several different possible scales for measuring each level of competency. The following is the simplest:
• Below expectations
• Meets expectations
• Exceeds expectations

In order to use this project management competency model, simply follow the 3 steps:
1. Assess competencies
2. Prepare a competence development plan
3. Implement the development plan

Here is a brief overview of each of these steps:

1. Assess competencies:

 This first step consists of assessing the candidate based on the competency model. In general, the candidate conducts a self-assessment and asks his superior, colleague or clients to evaluate him. It is therefore possible to ascertain if there are any gaps between the required and perceived competencies.

2. Prepare a competence development plan:

If any gaps are identified, the second step is preparing a development plan. This plan can include training, mentoring or coaching activities that will help the candidate acquire the skills he needs.

3. Implement the development plan:

The last step involves carrying out professional development activities. It is recommended that a new assessment be conducted the following year in order to measure the candidate’s progress.

To help you find out more about project management competency models, Mr. Gilbert delivers a course entitled Implementing a Project Management Office (PMO) - GE203

We also invite you to discover the many other project management courses offered at Technologia.

PMLOGY: [pee-em-lo-gee] noun. — the science of project management
PMLOGY and GPLOGIE are registered trademarks of Carl M. Gilbert.
© Carl M. Gilbert, All rights reserved.

Carl M. Gilbert is the initiator of the Project Management courses at Technologia, he was the obvious choice as a representative for four of the programs in this particular area of specialty. He has been involved with the Montreal chapter of the PMI since 1996 and has a thorough understanding of the various certifications and requirements for project managers.