This Guest paper was originally published in the January, 2016 PM World Journal.
With some updating of the text, it is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Copyright Stacy Goff, © 2016.
Published here May 2016

Editor's Note | Introduction by Stacy Goff | Talent from Then to Now 
Talent Management Area 1: Talent Acquisition | Desperately Seeking Project Talent
The Talent Areas of Greatest Importance | Summarizing Talent Acquisition | PART 2

The Talent Areas of Greatest Importance

Let us understand the needed Project Talent areas, with some of their elements, so we can all better apply them in projects. Some organizations, until recently, held tightly to the opinion that technical project processes were all we need for success. IPMA's long-held position (since the 1990s) is that project management processes are important, and two other factors have more impact on project and business success. Those factors are leader-ship and interpersonal skills in the team, and strategic linkage with the enterprise context. Recently, PMI[3] has added their "Talent Triangle" to reflect their realization about our prerequisites to project success.

But wait, there's more!

Now that the professional associations are all on the same page, consider this: the Talent Areas (using my own labels) Technical PM, Interpersonal, and Enterprise are great; but there is one area missing. I recognized that omission and added it to my company's training and PM methodologies in the 1980s. Now I add Product to your Talent quest.

The omission is logical. Professional organizations are involved in training, guiding, and certifying project managers in project management. That is their focus. In our project and program consulting, I was working with the entire enterprise, seeking ways to improve their success rates I recognized that we needed representation from the Product area, to truly help our customers achieve business success through projects and programs. So, I offer the Talent Tetrahedron at the right.

Product Talent, Specific to the Application Area

Product Talent adds roles and responsibilities — and needed Role-Competences — for project Sponsors, Customer Managers; and key businesspeople serving as Business Analysts — with the right training and coaching. The solution developers on the team needed project management skills, but even more important were their skills in the product area, and their solution delivery expertise. I was happy, 20 years later, when IIBA[4] and other organizations realized the need for Product Talent, and recognized the role of Business Analysts.

The chart below shows some of the competences needed in each Talent Area. Each competence requires 2-6 or so Learning Outcomes. Today, most of the professional associations agree on the Technical, Interpersonal and Enterprise Context areas, and that is a very important improvement. And yet, how successful will your next project be if the Product competences are missing?

This Product Talent gap remains in many projects today. Clearly, someone is performing many of those actions; but who is taking responsibility for finding the talent needed to work most-effectively in those areas? Who is prioritizing the most-skilled talent for the highest-strategic value projects? Who even understands the need to do so?

Technical PM


Scope & talent management


Quality assurance & control

Business need

Risk & issue management

Current situation

Contracting & procurement

Problems & opportunities

Resource planning

Business requirements

Estimates, Delegation

Organizational changes

Scheduling, Cost control

Validation & verification

Reviews, Change control

Documentation & training

Status tracking & reporting

Business benefits & results


Enterprise Context

Leadership & Influence

Strategic alignment

Sustaining the vision

Formal/informal organization


Power navigation

Personal communication

Prioritization & resourcing

Conflict, crisis management

Benefit realization

Results orientation

Cultural, values appreciation

Engagement & Teamwork


Emotional intelligence

Suppliers and contractors


Political savvy

***  Desperately Seeking Project Talent

3. PMI® is a US-based, global professional association for project managers. Learn more about PMI at
4. IIBA® is International Institute of Business Analysis, "the Voice of the Business Analysis Profession." See them at
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