Who Needs PM Competence?
Target Audiences: Individuals
Project management competence is not just for project managers. You must develop competence throughout the team. Every project stakeholder must be competent in his or her role. For example, a common project failure point is the gap in competence (and resulting performance shortfall) arising from a resource manager who fails to correctly recognize project prioritizes, and hence fails to assign the right team members with the right skills, the right amount of time.
Figure 1: The project management hierarchy
But, you might ask: "Isn't that why we want to have competent Project Managers?" The problem is, even an incredibly competent project manager cannot compensate for the project stakeholders who cannot competently perform their roles - consequently requiring the risk response action of finding and correcting the weakest links.
Beyond Individuals: Teams, Organizations
Project management competence not only benefits individual stakeholders but has great potential to benefit whole project teams as well. For example, we use competence assessment as part of Project Kickoff in larger projects. What better way to identify the strengths and gaps of your extended team and what better timing for this action than at Project Startup?
At the departmental level, certain elements of project management competence are often the closely held secret of line managers who have upper-management aspirations. At the enterprise level, PM competence is already a strategic weapon and competitive advantage for many of today's most successful organizations.
Understanding the Importance of Competence
Clearly, PM competence does matter in all project-oriented enterprises. And this helps explain why most professional PM societies have either adopted a competence-based certification approach, or are now rushing to do so.
This "Fast Train" to PM competence-based certification raises the question of how you traceably assess and develop competence. Another question: How do you determine current competence requirements for the PM roles played, and identify gaps and strengths, as well as establishing a development plan against valid competence criteria? But perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves. Before we discuss how individuals and organizations develop project management competence, let us look at the journey you must travel to achieve any type of competence.