To begin the development of our model, we conducted an informal survey of members in an online PgMP® group. We asked what competencies they felt were required of program managers. Following the theme of that by Cicmil et al. (2009), the majority addressed the need to recognize the complex processes of interaction.
- Stakeholder management
- Communications planning Effective listening
- Social responsibility
- Effective written and oral communications at all levels
- Long-range strategic planning
- Relationship building and management-both vertical and horizontal
- Mapping business strategy to program objectives
- Interpersonal skills
- Negotiation skills
- Strategic thinking to set the vision
- Tactical planning to sell the vision
- Financial acumen
- Benefits management
- Strategic integration management
It is interesting to note that those polled did not include "technical" competency as being needed. Perhaps it is implied, and the ones above are those "in addition" to the technical competence of the program manager. However, in presentations given by the authors over many years, when a similar question is asked of the audience, the response is very much the same as above. When collectively asked about technical competence, there is always a range of opinions. Some opine that a certain amount of technical competence in the nature of the program is helpful, but not altogether required in many circumstances. Yet others vehemently argue that the program manager be a technical expert in the work of the program.
Using this small sample, the conclusions of the GAO report, the need for hard and soft competencies from Patanakul and Milosevic, plus our own experience as program managers and PgMPs, we developed the Levin-Ward competency model as described in the next section. We also wanted to make it generic enough that it could be used, in whole or in part, across organizations in every industry sector.
14. Cicmil, S., Cooke-Davies, T., Crawford, L., & Richardson, K. Exploring the complexity of projects: Implications of complexity theory for project management practice, Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA 2009