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

Interventions: Training and Coaching

About the Actual Assessments: Out of Scope

We cannot cover our actual assessment processes in this paper because that would be an entire topic by itself. We must remind you, though, that you need a level of assessment rigor that is appropriate to the intended use of the information.

Nor can we show you much of the CompModel tool's support of assessment and analysis of the results. That information is available as a part of the download of the complimentary version at the asapm website. But what is important for us to cover here is what you do with the assessment results.

The Role of Training, Coaching and Pairing

Assuming that you perform an assessment (individual or organizational), the next step is to establish a development plan that leverages the strengths and helps fill the gaps found. While training can be part of the interventions, clearly, more focused effort on the part of managers and mentors is needed to continue the progression up the competence ladder.

Coaching requires a person who has the available time, is in a position to recognize and reward progress, and who consistently demonstrates the desired competences themselves. In some organizations there may be no person who meets these requirements. A combination of a manager and an external competence coach may be needed. The person being coached also needs time and the opportunity to apply their new skills and competences.

Pairing is an interesting intervention, given two peers with complementary strengths and gaps. They do require time to perform this co-coaching, it is not something they can do when they have nothing more important to accomplish. Again, managers must be involved to recognize and reward progress, or the pair may backslide on their new competences. Interestingly, we have seen challenging problems when the competence ratings between paired members are too great. It often works better when the gap between the two is minor.

Evaluate Actual Performance

As the saying goes, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. It is not enough to establish a competence development plan, with measures of improvement. Even with demonstrated success in individual competence criteria, the ultimate measure of competence is in project performance. Thus, in the best competence interventions, project performance evaluation, focusing on the areas of gaps, but also related to all other competence criteria are the needed measures of success. High effort? Certainly, but then is project performance important to you or not?

Repeat the Assessment Process

A first iteration of the PM CompModel process may require 1 to 2 years, depending on the number of persons being assessed, the extent of the gaps, and the maturity of management and your processes.

And given closure on the six steps of the PM CompModel process, what do you suppose you do? You repeat the process. In a second iteration, it makes sense to include project stakeholders higher in the organization, and wider across the organization, as they now become the new weakest link in the project success. We have not encountered organizations that require more than three iterations.

The Competent and Mature Enterprise

We recommend that you perform an assessment of PM competence for an individual, a team, a workgroup or a whole enterprise. Then establish and execute a competence development plan. The result will be increased PM effectiveness, something most enterprise executives seek to achieve.

And yet, we continue to see enterprises that adopt process maturity initiatives with no consideration of their competence in those processes. While we are strong believers in PM process maturity efforts, we consistently find process maturity improvement without improving stakeholder project management competence to be largely wasted effort. The PM CompModel offers the framework to avoid that waste.

Evolution of asapm's Version of CompModel  Evolution of asapm's Version of CompModel

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