The project management learning curve was addressed in the introduction of this paper. Having established the principles and terminology of the DBM, we can now use the model to address how best to move project practitioners up through the competency hierarchy from MBR to MBM to MBO to MBV, and perhaps beyond, as appropriate to their interests and aptitudes.
The people side of the DBM portrays the behavior pattern that is natural to each level, using the Myers Briggs framework. Not everyone in project management aspires to take the lead on a project. As exemplified in project management conferences and training programs, there are those that are drawn to the development and use of project management tools, and others that seem naturally inclined to focus on the issues.
It should be noted that, although the character profiles are treated very lightly in this paper, human behavior is a very complex subject area. As such, attempting to categorize people in some neat pattern to suit the model would be a tricky and perhaps dangerous exercise. Nonetheless, these profiles are important for the sole purpose of establishing the framework for discussion.
We should expect that throughout their career, there are those that stay within the MBR mindset and develop their expertise on that basis. There are others that will feel more comfortable with the methods and stay with the tools and methodologies, and so on. For those who have the interest and aptitude for harnessing the challenges of the bigger picture, there needs to be the necessary encouragement, recognition and training to enable their progression.
An important issue is ensuring that good candidates for MBO and MBV are not eliminated for lack of an adequate performance record at the lower levels. For example, it may not follow that the best MBO and MBV candidates should necessarily be selected from the pool of top MBR or MBM performers (see Figure 9). Myers Briggs seems to indicate that people's natural behavior inclinations would be an important factor.
Figure 9: Four Project Management Career Paths
Among the learning options teaching the terminology, training in tools, lecturing on issues, and mentoring in real time each of the DBM levels has unique learning needs. Teaching works well for MBR. Training is an important addition for MBM, to gain a mastery of the tools such as packaged software applications. PMI's PMP certification, reflecting the PMBOK® Guide, is largely at the MBM level (covering the Level 1 and Level 2 components illustrated in Figure 10), with much focus on project terminologies and frameworks.
The shift from MBM to MBO requires additional concentration on the "soft" skills human resources, communication, and integration. Thus, moving to MBO requires a high degree of experience encompassing the "battle scars" and eventual confidence of a tried and proven track record. Moving further to MBV requires the combined bottom up project experience of MBO, as well as a high level of experience in the specific business operations associated with the project. Finding a candidate with a proven track record in both is a clear problem for Level 4 and above.
Those preparing practitioners, or considering certification requirements, for MBO and MBV can perhaps use the PMP certification exam as the foundation, and add custom programs as appropriate. These additions need to be magnified further for MBV preparations.
Figure 10: Comparison to the PMP®