This paper was first
presented at IPMA's
20th World Congress
in Shanghai, China, in
October 2006.
It has been adapted
for presentation on
this web site.
Published here August 2007

Abstract | Introduction | It's All About Competence | Who Needs PM Competence? 
Exploring Project Management Competence | Developing Project Management Competence 
Enter the PM CompModel | Evolution of asapm's Version of CompModel
Interventions: Training and Coaching | Conclusion

Enter the PM CompModel

You Cannot Assess in a Vacuum

From the beginning it was clear that we could not get the needed assessment results by merely determining the competence of one project manager. We needed to understand the performance of all significant participants in the project interactions and outcomes. And, because one person could fill multiple roles, each person needed to be assessed against all the competence criteria of all of his or her roles.

As Scope Grows, Better Tools are Needed

While we were able to perfect our processes according to our CompModel, the information management demands were daunting. We struggled with spreadsheet-based tools that gave useful results, but they required significant effort to apply. Finally, in the mid-1990's, we started using a database to analyze the information, see the CompModel in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The Project Management CompModel
Figure 3: The Project Management CompModel

A Competence Progression Scale

Given our view of competence as a progression from Knowledge, through Skills, through Attitudes and Attributes, to Competence, we had a challenge: How do you determine the required level for each role and each criterion? Further, what scale helps to evaluate a person reliably?

Our solution was to adapt Bloom's Taxonomy[4] because we are evaluating knowledge at the initial level anyway. The 2000 update[5] is even more useful. Then at the upper levels, we adjust Bloom to reflect the progression up our Skills-Attitudes-Competence Ladder.[6] Bloom distinguishes between Cognitive (Knowledge-based) criteria and Adaptive (Attitudes and Behaviors) criteria.

We found that the Cognitive scale also often works with the Behavioral criteria.

Bloom's Taxonomy is an especially useful solution because it bridges the gap between learning and competence development. It also provides a consistent mechanism for evaluating the level of a learning objective or competence criteria by classifying the verb and noun(s) in the statement.

Early Adapters

From the beginning, the PM CompModel process had great application in many project and program management arenas. In addition, it had great usefulness in the program management office. We have adapted it for specialized uses, such as expanding it to include key roles in information technology projects, and adding the needed criteria to assess customers, business analysts, sponsors, resource managers and key PM stakeholders.

Developing Project Management Competence  Developing Project Management Competence

4. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain (Paperback) by Benjamin S. Bloom (Editor); Addison Wesley Publishing Company (June 1956). ISBN: 0582280109.
5. Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing, A: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Lorin W. Anderson, David R. Krathwohl, Peter W. Airasian, and Kathleen A. Cruikshank (Paperback - 2000). ISBN: 080131903X.
6. To see the CompModel adaptation of Bloom's Taxonomy's Knowledge-to-Competence levels, go to this webpage:
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