Monday 7 February 2022

Standards for competencies in the field of project management

Project management is considered by leading companies as one of the most important factors of effective development. The number of simultaneously implemented projects in companies can be measured in dozens and even hundreds. Projects can be short-term and long-term, typical and unique, implemented in-house or with the participation of many external performers.

To ensure the timely and successful implementation of projects, companies need to create or develop corporate project management systems - mechanisms that allow you to "put on stream" the processes of business development, to guarantee the effective achievement of project goals.

Corporate project management system (CSMS) is a comprehensive system that consists of several elements that formalize the main management issues: "What do we manage?", "Who manages?", "How does it manage?", embodied in regulatory and methodological documentation, an IT system that automates management processes and trained, competent personnel.

Standards for competencies in the field of project management

The article analyzes the standards in the field of competence of participants in project activities that exist today, their features and applicability for companies at different stages of maturity of the project management system.

Standards in the field of project competencies

World standards in the field of project competencies summarize the experience gained in the implementation of projects in various industries, and establish requirements for the composition and level of competence (we are talking about competencies necessary for successful participation in project activities – authors' note) of employees involved in the company's project activities by appointing to the roles of:

  • Project managers (taking into account the complexity / without taking into account the complexity of the project);
  • Project program managers (taking into account the type of program being implemented / without taking into account the type);
  • Roles in project offices, in large projects and programs (standards of general application).
  • The list of existing standards in the field of project competencies is given.

Standards for competencies in the field of project management

Competence and competence

Before proceeding to the review of world standards and practices in the field of competence of project participants, it is necessary to define the terms "competence" and "competence" themselves. By the word "competence" we will understand the knowledge, skills and experience in a certain field required from the participant of the project activity, and necessary for the effective performance of the participant's functions.

In existing standards, the term "competence" is defined in different ways:

  • ICB 3.0 standard – "demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and/or skills and personal qualities".
  • The American standard Project Manager Competency Development Framework – "a set of knowledge, attitudes, skills and other personal characteristics that affects the bulk of the work of the project role, correlates with the performance of job duties, can be measured against generally accepted standards, and can be improved through training and development."
  • The British standard APM Competence Framework – "expected or demonstrated results that are achieved as a result of applying a combination of knowledge, personal relationships, skills and experience in a particular function."
  • The international initiative GAPPS, which has developed a series of standards regarding the roles of the Project Manager and the Program Manager of projects - "to be qualified enough to perform the task or to replace a certain position - a project role."
  • If we analyze these definitions, we can fix the difference in the definition of concepts: "competencies" are requirements for knowledge, skills, qualities of an employee, "competence" is demonstrated (determined by the assessment or actual results of the project) the ability to apply one's own knowledge and skills to perform the functions of the project role.

Core Competencies

Groups all professional (related to project management, for example, "deadline management", and found in the standards more than 3 times) and behavioral competencies (related to the personal qualities of an employee performing a project role, occurring more than 2 times).

Existing standards in the field of project competencies require the Project Manager to be able to monitor the status of the project (i.e. have up-to-date, complete and consistent information about the progress of the project, problem areas, potential risks and opportunities, as well as the key parameters of the project - timing, cost and implementation of the content), as well as the ability to interact with people involved in the project, or having an impact on it. Behavioral competencies are standard for any manager, and here world standards confirm this trend, highlighting efficiency and leadership as dominant competencies.

Next, we will look at each of the existing standards in detail on what competencies, the levels of their measurement and the levels of competence of specialists they distinguish.

International initiative GAPPS Performance Based Competency Standards for Global Level 1 and 2 

Project Managers

GlobalAllianceforProjectPerformance Standards (GAPPS) is an international association for the development of Project Management Standards , an organization that brought together many volunteers from different countries, created in 2006. The organization is engaged in the development of qualification standards for project managers (Global Performance Based Standards for Project Managers).

The current version of this standard is version 1.7a, released in October 2007.

This Standard defines two levels of competence:

  • Global Level 1 (GL1) — "Project Manager";
  • Global Level 2 (GL2) — "Project Manager of high complexity".

These levels correspond to different levels of complexity of the implemented projects, according to the results of one of which the competence of the project manager is assessed.

The complexity of the project is assessed using the CIFTER method (Сrawford-Ishikura factor table for evaluating roles) - a method of assessing the complexity factors of project management on a 4-point scale.

The bulk of the GAPPS standard mentioned above is a detailed description of the six areas of competence (units) corresponding to specific areas of professional activity of the project manager. Each competency area contains three to six elements that define key job requirements and describe what a manager should do in that area. For each element of competence, the standard maps several performance criteria (performance criteria), confirmation of the implementation of each of which is a prerequisite for the certification of the project manager.

GAPPS certification involves the applicant's submission of one of the projects implemented by him. The manager must collect and provide documentary evidence that each of the performance criteria was implemented during the management of the submitted project. It is the portfolio of such certificates that is the main material with which GAPPS assessors work, assessing the level of competence of the applicant.

American Institute for Project Management PMI PMCDF – Project manager competency development framework

ProjectManagement Institute is the oldest non-profit professional association founded in the United States in 1969 and unites in its ranks more than 285 thousand specialists in the field of project management from more than 170 countries of the world PMI is engaged in the development of standards in various areas of project management. The standards are grouped within the Project Management Standards Library into three categories:

  • Basic standards;
  • Practical, framework standards;
  • Extensions to PMI standards.
  • The Project Management Competency Development Framework (PMCDF) belongs to the category of practical, framework standards.

According to the PMCDF standard, the competencies of the project manager have the following structure:

The PMCDF standard does not establish requirements for knowledge of project management, but refers to the PMP Examination Specification. This document describes the requirements for the level of knowledge in the field of project management described in the PMBOK 4th standard (Project Management Body of Knowledge 4th). This is process knowledge from nine areas of expertise and five groups of project management processes. Requirements are structured into five domains that replicate groups of project management processes (project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and project closure). Each domain contains from 6 to 12 tasks, on the fulfillment of which the final percentage of knowledge of the PMBOK 4th standard and the decision to assign the status of PMP - Project Management Professional depend.

The main IPMA standard for project management is ICB – IPMA Competence Baseline 3.0, which describes the requirements for competencies required by project managers and members of project teams to manage projects, programs and project portfolios. To assess competencies, a four-level IPMA certification system (model 4-L-C) is used:


Level A – Certified Project Director;
Level B – Certified Senior Project Manager;
Level C – Certified Project Manager;
Level D – Certified Project Management Specialist.

In the third edition of ICB 3.0 of 2006, 46 elements of competencies in project, program and project portfolio management were identified, all of them were divided into three groups: technical, behavioral and contextual competencies.

In US, SOVNET has developed an appropriate standard for the certification of USn specialists – "Fundamentals of Professional Knowledge and National Requirements for the Competence of Project Management Specialists" (NTK 3.0). In June 2010, the latest edition of the NTC Version 3.0 standard was released, which identifies 55 elements of competencies for project, program and project portfolio management in four groups of competencies (see Figure 2. "Eye of Competences" NTC 3.0):

  • Objects of management and contextual competence;
  • Subjects of management and behavioral competence;
  • Management processes and technical competence;
  • General (basic) competence.

GAPPS: Performance Based Competency Standards for Program Managers

In 2010, GAPPS developed and introduced a standard , the A Framework for Performance Based Competency Standards for Program Managers.

The main part of the GAPPS standard is a detailed description of the eight areas of competence (units) corresponding to specific areas of professional activity of the project program manager. The standard divides programme managers into six groups, depending on the complexity of the programme, the context of its implementation and the effects it ultimately intends. Each group is subject to the appropriate requirements for the level of competence proficiency, and the competencies themselves are divided into key (for the role of the program manager):

Each competency contains two to six competency elements, which are evaluated by the Performance Criteria.

AIPM CPPD – Certified Practiсing Project Director

The Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) is a professional organization engaged in the research and development of standards for project management in Australia. AIPM has been part of IPMA since 2009, and also has a model of certification of specialists in the field of project management, consistent with IPMA, consisting of three levels:

  • CPPP – Certified Project Practitioner;
  • CPPM – Certified Practiсing Project Manager (Сертифицированный Руководитель проекта);
  • CPPD – Certified Practicing Project Director (Сертифицированный Директор проектов).
  • The CPPD (Highest Level of Competence) standard defines nine core competencies of the Project Director, each competency comprises four competency elements that are detailed through the performance criteria of each element. Also, for each competency, the standard defines a set of performance indicators, the amount of knowledge and skills required to demonstrate competence and an evidence base (specific documents filled out by the assessed employee) confirming the availability of competence and compliance with the requirements.

APM – Association for Project Management

The Association for Project Management (APM) is the Project Management Association of the United Kingdom, which is Europe's largest independent national organization in the field of project management. The Association includes more than 19,700 individual and 500 corporate members from the United Kingdom and other European countries.

The main APM standard is The APM Body of Knowledge. The standard describes 52 areas of expertise that are necessary for successful project management. An addition to this standard is The APM Competence Framework (2008), an APM competency framework that provides guidance for ranking and evaluating individual competencies. The APM Competence Framework is consistent with THE ICB v3.0 IPMA and identifies the same three competency groups – technical, behavioral and contextual, but different (from ICB v3.0 / NTC v3.0) composition and number of competency elements:

According to the standard, the competency groups are based on five key concepts (5 Key concepts) related to the project environment. These concepts include:

The British Chamber of Commerce, part of the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom, released the fifth version of the PRINCE2TM standard in 2009, dividing it into two books: Managing Successful Projects UsingPRINCE2TM and Directing Successful Projects UsingPRINCE2TM. The first book is aimed at managers directly managing projects (the competencies of the project manager are shown in Fig. 4), and the second is aimed at project committee managers, board members and project sponsors. It is also worth noting that the second book defines the qualification requirements for project sponsors.

For each of the roles on the project management team, PRINCE2TM in Appendix C: Roles and responsibilities sets out the Requirements for General Responsibilities at different stages of project execution and the Competencies required to successfully perform the functions of the respective project role.

Project Management Association of Japan (PMAJ) – The Guidebook for Project and Program Management for Enterprise Innovation (P2M) — Руководство по управлению проектами

Project Management Association of Japan (PMAJ) By 2001, a project management standard, The Guidebook for Project and Program Management for Enterprise Innovation (P2M), had been developed.

The P2M standard is currently pmAJ's basic standard for project and program management. On its basis, a guide for assessing the abilities and certification of project management specialists was developed - Capability Based Professional Certification Guidelines (CPC Guidelines).

The Japan Project Management Association has created a four-tier P2M certification system for project managers. The levels in the certification model are distributed as follows:

  • Project Coordinator (KP) – A limited amount of P2M knowledge is required;
  • Specialist in Project Management (PROMS) – requires the development of a full amount of P2M knowledge;
  • Certified Project Manager (SMP) – requires demonstration of abilities and confirmation of practical experience;
  • Program Management Architect (AUP) – recognition of the manager's highest abilities and practical experience.

The competency model in P2M consists of 10 elements:

  • Holistic thinking;
  • Strategic thinking;
  • Integral thinking;
  • Leadership;
  • Planning ability (planning competence);
  • Ability to perform (competence of execution);
  • Coordination;
  • Relationship skills;
  • Focus on achieving results;
  • Self-actualization.
  • “Guidance on project management”

To date, the ISO organization , the International Organization for Standardization, is the largest international organization that develops standards, which includes many national standards organizations, and the work on the preparation of international standards is usually carried out through technical committees.

On September 3, 2012, the ISO 21500:2012 standard "Guidance on project management" was published, providing general guidance on project management processes that are of particular importance and affect the achievement of project results.

Technical competencies to implement projects in a structured manner, which includes the use of terminology, concepts and processes of project management defined in the ISO 21500 standard;

Behavioral competencies related to personal relationships within certain project boundaries;
Contextual competencies related to project management within the organizational and external environment.

Thus, the standard establishes only a general framework for the development of a model of competencies of participants in project activities, without detailing each of these groups.

This division is similar to that given in the ICB 3.0, APM Competence Framework and NTC 3.0 standards. This is because the working groups took into account the accumulated experience of national project management organizations: the PMI Project Management Institute, the British Standards Institute BSI and the International Project Management Association IPMA.

No comments:

Post a Comment