The Levin-Ward Competency Model
In the following description of the Levin-Ward Program Management (PgM) Competency Model, we have retained the same definitions as in the PMI (2007) standard as follows:
- Competence - A cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, skills, and other personal characteristics that affects a major part of one's job (i.e., one or more key roles or responsibilities), correlates with performance on the job, can be measured against well-accepted standards, and can be improved by means of training and development.
- Knowledge - Knowing something with the familiarity gained through experience, education, observation, or investigation. It is understanding a process, practice, or technique, or how to use a tool".
- Skill - Ability to use knowledge, a developed aptitude, and/or a capability to effectively and readily execute or perform an activity.
Following the PMI (2007) project manager competency format, we also used the convention of identifying performance competencies as well as personal competencies. By using both sets of competencies, program managers, prospective program managers, and their organizations can identify any gaps that may exist and determine how best to fill them. Individuals can use the model to help them further improve their overall effectiveness as a program manager or to determine whether or not program management is a desired career path. Organizations can use the model, tailoring it as required, to meet their unique needs. The intent is to best match individuals to open positions as new programs are undertaken, existing program managers leave to take on other assignments, or as existing programs are reprioritized.
The Levin-Ward PgM Competency Model consists of six Performance Competencies and eight Personal Competencies that are applied when performing program management. Figure 2 provides a graphical depiction of the model.
Figure 2: The Levin-Ward PgM competency model
The following is a description of each of the competencies represented. These competencies are ones that state what the program manager should do by applying his or her knowledge of program management in order to be able to deliver the proposed and planned benefits of the program. These six performance competencies are described as follows:
- Defining the program includes activities such as defining the program objectives and requirements, creating a high-level roadmap, preparing a benefits realization plan, conducting an initial stakeholder analysis, validating the program's priority and alignment to strategic objectives, preparing a business case, and obtaining the required authorization to proceed.
- Initiating the program includes activities such as articulating the program mission statement, developing the high-level program WBS and milestone plan, developing an accountability matrix, establishing project management standards for the component projects, defining measurement criteria, obtaining senior management approval for the program charter, and conducting a program kickoff meeting.
- Planning the program includes activities such as developing a detailed program scope statement and Program Work Breakdown Structure (PWBS), establishing the program management plan and baseline, reviewing and leveling resource requirements to optimize the program plan, defining the program management information system (PMIS), and developing the transition plan.
- Executing the program includes activities such as implementing the program management plan and all subsidiary plans, consolidating project and program data to monitor program performance, chartering component projects as necessary, continuously motivating team members through various activities, deploying uniform standards across all projects, capturing program status and disseminating information to key stakeholders, and closing component projects as necessary.
- Monitoring and controlling the program includes activities such as analyzing cost, schedule, and quality variances to the program plan and making decisions to correct deficiencies or promote continued above par performance; forecasting project and program outcomes by gathering relevant data and identifying trends; ensuring stated benefits are being realized or will be realized as a result of execution, and managing change in accordance with the change management plan.
- Closing the program includes activities such as completing a program performance analysis report, executing the transition plan, conducting stakeholder review meetings, ensuring the official closeout of all contracts and agreements, and documenting lessons learned.
In Part 2 of this paper we will discuss the detailed
contents of our proposed Competency Model for Program Managers.
15. Project manager competency development framework, second edition. Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA, 2007
16. Ibid, p73
17. Ibid, p74
18. Ibid, p75