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Project Management: An Organizational Competency

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Competency-based management is a tactic that some organizations are using to recruit, hire, train, develop and manage employees.

Competencies are sorted out in three categories:

Organizational competencies combine the skills, information, performance measures and the corporate culture that an organization uses to achieve its mission. All employees must demonstrate these proficiencies.
Job role competencies include the abilities needed to perform a specific role in the organization. A field supervisor, for example, must have similar skills to supervisors in accounting, customer care or sales. Although they are in different department functions, they must exhibit a common set of supervising skills.
Position competencies are specific to the position you perform in your organization. An account manager, for example, must demonstrate capabilities that include proficiency in sales. An IT support engineer, for example, must be a master supporting the core systems an organization uses.
It's common for organizations to think project management is a skill at the position level and that it is just for project managers.

The reality is that project management is an organizational competency. If organizational strategy drives strategic changes and those changes are executed as projects, project management must be an organizational capability rather than a job skill.
If project management is an organizational competency, it's required to define a training program within the organization to develop everyone's project management knowledge and abilities.

I suggest starting with an awareness meeting for all employees. Once that's completed, host specific teaching sessions for executives who will support projects and then for people who participate in projects. Both must deliver non-technical project management knowledge.
What do you think? Is project management an organizational competency?


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I totally agree. The skills most executives cite as desirable in a project manager are technology and business knowledge, negotiation, good communications, organization, diplomacy, and time management. To me, I think understanding the business is more important than understanding technology.

A Project Manager’s main responsibilities are to chart the project development plan, decide on methodologies to develop the project plan, set up project development teams and ensure that the development process of the project in managed efficiently without budget cost overruns and stipulated time slippages.

I agree! Bringing this view to an organization at any level will position the teams to adopt project management principles to their job role and adapt to the project management discipline. It really does make a difference seeing PM as an organizational competency and not just as a job of one or a few individuals.

I remember myself promoting CAPM to project team members and functional managers, as the interest was in having the management be more aware of the discipline, methodology and processes.

So I definitely support PM immersion into an organization at all levels.


Project management skills should be attained as part of the natural progression of your people as they move up the supervisory ladder.

Sounds right to me. And if this is the case it challenges the 'pm a professional' paradigm. As an organizational capability its a skill everyone should have, not a job role.

Project Management is definitely an organizational competency as you can only do Project Management if your organization allows it: the project manager has to have adequate authority across the organization, teams members have to know who they work for (namely who will do their evaluations) and so on.

This goes along with the skills you must have on people and the competencies you have (job role and position competencies as you call them). In short, Project Management demands for organizational, job role and position competencies.

Agree. Generally project management competence itself does not value much within any management systems unlike in combination with specific subject area.

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