Project Managers Against Poverty

Check your Competencies as a Project or Program Manager!

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Here's a simple confidential tool for you to check your competencies as a project or program manager if you work or are planning to work in International Development or the Third sector. It's been put together by the Bond Project Management Group in partnership with PM4NGOs, Humentum and Project Managers Against Poverty.

Competencies are defined as integrated sets of skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours required to perform effectively in a given job, role or situation. Project Manager Competencies are organized in four areas as in the Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro) model. Program Manager competencies are based on the five essential principles of good program management as in the Program Management for Development Professionals (Program DPro) model. This competence framework is based on the APM Competence Framework.

Please share any suggestions for improvement with us at feedback@pmap.email.

Step 1: My Own Assessment. Sit down for a few minutes and go through the list below assessing your level between 1 and 4 in each of the 31 project manager competencies and, if relevant, the 5 program manager competencies:

Level 1 - This concept is new or somewhat unfamiliar to me
Level 2 - I don’t fully understand this concept yet and need more practice
Level 3 - I understand this concept and can demonstrate my understanding
Level 4 - I understand this concept so well that I can modify it, apply it in news ways, and teach it

Step 2: My Job Needs. Go through the competencies again with your manager or a colleague or mentor and assess what is required for the job you are doing:

Level 1 - My job does not require this competency
Level 2 - My job requires awareness of, but no need to apply this competency
Level 3 - My job requires knowledge and application of this competency
Level 4 - My job requires mastering this competency as well as modification for bespoke use and/or teaching to it to others

Step 3: Create Your Development Plan. When you have finished, create your personal development plan by clicking the "My Plan" button at the end. It will show the difference between your present competency level and what is required for the job so you can prioritise and plan your personal development. Don't forget to print out a copy before your leave the webpage!

If you would like to check you competencies off-line you can download an Excel version from PM4NGOs here.

PM Technical

This group of competencies are often referred to collectively as the ‘science’ behind project management. Can the project manager identify, select and employ the right tools and processes to ensure project management success?

1: Proactively manage scope
The ability to create and manage a list of specific project goals, deliverables and requirements based on the Business Plan
2: Comprehensively identify the activities required for project success
The ability to determine the best means of satisfying the project requirements and to create a set of activities to deliver them within cost, time and quality constraints. Develop and agree a project budget
3: Manage the overall schedule to ensure work is on time
The ability to prepare and maintain schedules for activities and events for change initiatives, taking account of dependencies and resource requirements
4: Define and collect metrics to measure project progress
The ability to develop continuous monitoring and evaluation processes to measure all aspects of the project against its objectives
5: Identify, track, manage and resolve project issues
The ability to respond to issues that affect the project, and maintain an Issues Log
6: Proactively disseminate project information to all stakeholders
The ability to manage and communicate with stakeholders, taking account of their levels of influence and particular interests through the use of stakeholder management plans
7: Identify, manage and mitigate project risk
The ability to identify and monitor risks (threats and opportunities), to plan and implement responses to those risks, and maintain a Risk Register
8: Establish logistics systems
The ability to create and maintain a logistics system which supplies the correct resources and materials at the right time with budgetary constraints
9: Ensure that project deliverables are of acceptable quality
The ability to develop, maintain and apply quality management processes for change initiative activities and outputs
10: Identify if and when changes need to occur and the impact of those changes on the project
The ability to manage the process through which all requests to change the baseline scope of a project, programme or portfolio are captured, evaluated and then approved, rejected or deferred
11: Plan and manage the budget and expenditure of the project
The ability to develop and agree budgets for the project and change initiatives, and to control forecast and actual costs against the budgets

Leadership and Interpersonal

This group of competencies are often referred to collectively as the ‘art’ of project management. For example, how does the project manager communicate, inspire, and resolve conflict?

12: Vision the ‘big picture’ of a project within an organization portfolio
The ability to see the “bigger picture”. To think at high level based around Theory of Change for the organization
13: Champion the project (promoting buy-in)
The ability to manage stakeholders, taking account of their levels of influence and particular interests, and promote buy-in
14: Communicate vision – setting reasonable, challenging expectations
The ability to communicate the project's vision, inspire team members and keep them "on message"
15: Provide timely and helpful performance feedback to team members
The ability to help your team to develop their skills, knowledge and experience by constructive feedback and (possibly) mentoring. Your team is your project's greatest asset!
16: Facilitate a productive team environment
The ability to select, develop and manage teams and the ability to be a team player
17: Communicate proactively (verbal and written), including active listening
The ability to communicate clearly, accurately and precisely to team members and stakeholders, and, when communicating verbally, to fully concentrate on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker
18: Motivate team members to willingly follow direction and achieve goals
The ability to empower and inspire others to deliver successful change initiatives

Personal and Self-Management

This group of competencies check the project manager's ability to self-manage. For example, can the project manager effectively prioritize, manage time and organize work?

19: Organizational skills
The ability to create and keep deadlines; delegate; set goals & meet goals; make timely decisions; manage appointments; and, make and manage schedules
20: Attention to detail
To ability to be thorough and accurate when accomplishing a task through concern for all the areas involved
21: Ability to multi-task
The ability to ability to calmly and efficiently perform multiple tasks at the same time
22: Logical thinking
The ability to think in a disciplined manner using facts and evidence to come up with a solution
23: Analytical thinking
The ability to work systematically and logically to resolve problems, identify causation and anticipate unexpected results. To manage issues by drawing on own experience and knowledge and call on other resources as necessary
24: Self-discipline
The ability to stick to one’s convictions and rule your own conduct
25: Time management
The ability to know where you are spending your time and how to spend it efficiently

Development Sector Specific

This is the ability to apply the technical, leadership/interpersonal and personal/self-management competencies in the context of development projects. For example, can the project manager identify, select and employ the right tools and processes that are unique to the development sector?

26: Understand development sector values and paradigms (or mode of operation)
The ability to understand how the development sector works overall and for your organisation in particular
27: Understand the different stakeholders involved in development projects
28: Understand and navigate complex development environments
The ability to understand the often-complex relationships in a development project and to interact with all stakeholders effectively at an appropriate level
29: Work effectively with an array of implementing partners
30: Cope with the unique pressures of development environments
31: Exhibit cultural sensitivity
The ability to work in multi-cultural teams, being sympathetic and aware of local customs

Program Management

To achieve success, all programs should model the five essential principles of good program management. It is the Program Manager’s role to ensure that this happens and that these approaches shape all program and project activities.

1: Well Governed
When taking ownership of a program it’s important to fully understand the role of the governing body and also the expectations that it has of the Program Manager role
2: Participatory
The Program Manager is responsible for ensuring that program activities are conducted in an inclusive and participatory way
3: Comprehensive
The Program Manager needs to intuitively understand how each of a program’s components fit together to achieve an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts
4: Integrated
The Program Manager takes a step back and maintains an elevated view of all of the components that make up a program, managing these as an integrated whole, not as individual parts
5: Adaptive
The Program Manager is the person responsible for ensuring that all integrated activities within a program are harmonized and focused on achieving its objectives and overall goals

Click this button to see your development plan!

↪ Don't forget to print a copy or 

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