Project Management Competencies

Real Property Branch has formalized and adopted the practice of utilizing standard project management competencies throughout the full spectrum of a project in order to ensure consistency with their national objectives to continuously improve their services. Standard competencies not only provide a framework for the management and delivery of projects but will also provide Real Property Branch (RPB) with a:

  • common basis to identify workplans
  • common framework for performance evaluations
  • tool to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of individuals and the overall organization
  • tool to assist the development of an individual's Learning Plan
  • standard upon which project managers can 'self assess'

In support of the RPB (previously RPS) Value Proposition which focuses on client's needs, RPB has also supported the accreditation of project management staff as Project Management Professionals (PMP) by the Project Management Institute since July 1999 (see "Project Management Professional Accreditation"). To further support the 'Value Proposition', there is a need within RPB to:

  • acquire and maintain a highly skilled and knowledgeable resource base
  • ensure the long term improvement and sustainability of that resource base
  • provide standard competency evaluation criteria for assessment of 'individual' and 'organizational' knowledge and skills
  • foster on-going training for individual, professional career development and upgrading of project management skills

Project management competencies as developed by the Conference Board of Canada - Project Management Forum are being utilized by RPB on a national basis for the evaluation of project management knowledge and skills. The competencies are identified under three main categories - Business Environment, Management, and Technical. The criteria levels and related descriptions for measuring performance levels are as follows:

  • DOES NOT MEET

    Evidence of serious weaknesses that could prevent effective performance. These weaknesses will have to be addressed with proper training and/or coaching.

  • MEETS

    Fully Satisfactory qualifications. Effective and efficient performance. No specific requirement for training and/or coaching. Any further development should lead to "exceeds" performance.

  • EXCEEDS

    Highly developed qualifications. This employee could be used as a coach to assist in the enhancement of others.

Competency Categories and Performance Criteria

Business Environment

These are competencies that a project manager needs to understand in order to operate in the environment effectively. These competencies should be considered in tandem with the management and technical competencies listed below.

Table Summary

This table identifies competencie categories and performance criterias required to operate in the environment effectively.

Competency Category Performance Criteria
Business Literacy Ability to understand the line of business, to take the business vision and translate it into the project vision.
Corporate Procedures and Tools Ability to understand and apply established policies and procedures, corporate tools and technical requirements to the project.
Corporate Environment and Culture Ability to recognize and understand the corporate environment and cultural impacts on our projects from both internal and external sources.
Organizational Structure Ability to understand and work within the corporate organization and team structure.

Management

These are the "soft skills" or people-oriented competencies that would be required of any manager, but which are especially important for project managers dealing with a project team (superiors, staff and consultants) and external stakeholders (client, other third parties, media outlets and regulators)

Table Summary

This table identifies people oriented competencie categories and performance criterias for project managers dealing with a project team.

Competency Category Performance Criteria
Communications Ability to produce clear status reports (clear writing and verbal skills), communicate tactfully and candidly, simplify jargon, make clients aware of all issues, and be an excellent listener.
Corporate Environment Ability to manage and implement solutions related to corporate environment impacts.
External Issue Management Ability to identify, analyze and prioritize issues external to the project and develop mitigation plans.
Financial Acumen Ability to understand how decisions affect the bottom line; know about general financial and accounting principles and practices that affect operations; and know about the links between operations and the department's financial performance, which is essential to create value for all the organization's stakeholders.
Leadership Ability to motivate project members; set achievable objectives; maintain a positive outlook; take responsibility; make decisions; and provide constructive feedback.
Learning and Knowledge Management Ability to keep abreast of technological change; learn from and reflect on the past; ensure effective training and development of team members; and find the most expedient way to develop the new skills and knowledge required to undertake new projects.
Negotiation Ability to undertake continual adjustments with stakeholders in a persuasive manner, and to keep the project on course by using positive win/win negotiations.
Organization Ability to find a place for everything so that needed tools, resources and data are easily accessible; and the ability to create and maintain a clear team structure.
Problem Solving and Decision Making Ability to analyze and define a problem, evaluate alternatives, find a solution; and understand how and when to make a choice.
Relationship Management Ability to consult and provide advice; facilitate discussion and resolve conflict; develop relationships with key project stakeholders; recognize and deal with other cultures; establish trust, credibility and respect, and to be willing to give more than one will receive.
Strategic Thinking Ability to analyze the future impact of decisions by taking a big-picture approach, and to strategically position the project within the business to relate to short- and long-term objectives.
Team Building Ability to assemble the team with the right mix of skills, then 'create' the team; understand and know how to share information; coach members; delegate responsibility; and promote support and interaction.
Time Management Ability to manage competing priorities effectively, to be resourceful and to use time as a resource.

Technical

Traditionally, real property projects require the following main technical competencies for which the project manager will be held accountable. A project charter is required for every project and should incorporate some or all of these competencies

Table Summary

This table identifies technical competencie categories and performance criterias required for real property project.

Competency Category Performance Criteria
Budget Planning Understand and know how to perform cost/benefit analyses; use sound rationale; ensure that all factors are included; maintain focus on budget; and consult with client and management if estimated final costs are close to or above budget.
Client Focus Understand who the client is and what the client's needs are; be able to provide realistic expectations and to reach agreement with the client from the project's outset.
Contract Management Understand and know how to use contract project tools, how to create contract with clear and agreed-upon terms and conditions, and how to administer contracts.
Environmental, Health and Safety Management Understand and know how to comply with all regulations; implement a positive attitude toward health and safety in the design and execution of the project; ensure safe deliverables and incorporate sustainable development practices.
Commissioning Management Understand how to coordinate, implement, test and deliver a project in order to produce an effective working system (or a successful product).
Information Management Ability to manage project documentation (technical and management) and data (or information) requirements.
Issues/Change/ Assumptions Management Ability to control and implement a process of change when needed; document and track issues; monitor assumptions and make decisions in a timely manner; understand and use sound, proven problem-solving techniques.
Risk Management Understand how to assess, document and manage internal and external project risks; and develop contingencies and mitigation plans.
Project Controls and Process Management Understand and know how to use standard project management tools and techniques to schedule, plan, track and correct project performance; and know how to make effective use of technical and management methodologies.
Quality Management Understand how to obtain and ensure quality results (or products) for total client satisfaction, be able to take corrective actions and effectively perform verification of project standards.
Cost Management Understand how to use standard project management tools and techniques related to cost planning and estimating.
Resource Management Ability to identify and make optimal use of resources.
Scheduling Management Ability to organize the work in a logical way so that it is executed effectively, and to manage the schedule.
Scope Definition Ability to establish a clear scope, define the extent of the project; - what's in, what's out - and set up and understand approval procedures.