The 40 key competencies of project management

The APM Body of Knowledge identifies the forty key competencies appropriate for Project Management. The Body of Knowledge has been widely discussed with a range of other Professional Bodies, Academics, Companies and practicing Project Managers and there is wide spread consensus that the competencies are appropriate for Managers in any industry.

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4

 

Part 1 - Project Management

Systems management -- A system is a high level definition of the various elements, both concrete and less tangible, which comprise a viable entity. Systems management comprises the prime activities of Systems Analysis, Systems Design and Engineering and Systems Development.

1.2 Program Management

A Program (or program) is a specific undertaking to achieve a number of objectives. The most common examples of programs are development programs or large single purpose undertakings consisting of a series of interdependent projects.

  1. Project Management: Project Management is the planning, organization, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all involved to achieve the project objectives safely and within agreed time, cost and performance criteria.
  2. Project Life Cycle: The Project Life Cycle is the sequence of phases through which a project will pass from its conception to its completion
  3. Project Environment: The Project Environment is the context within which the project is formulated, assessed and realized. It covers all the external influences that are brought to bear on a project.
  4. Project Strategy: Projects should have a high level comprehensive definition of the way they are to be developed and managed. This strategy should be established at the very early stages of a project, be as comprehensive as possible and cover all the major dimensions.
  5. Project Appraisal: Project Appraisal is the discipline of calculating the viability of the project. A factor which provides the baseline for project appraisals throughout the life of the project is the investment appraisal. Project viability is usually defined in largely economic or financial terms. However, it is normally extended to include issues such as environmental appraisal, health & safety and certainty of performance.
  6. Project Success / Failure Criteria:

    Project Success/Failure Criteria is the criteria upon which the relative success or failure of the project may be judged. Three basic sets of criteria can be identified:

    1. Those of the sponsoring organization i.e. the owner or user;
    2. The traditional or classic project time management one of 'on time, in budget, to specification.
    3. The project participants' profitability
  7. Integration: Integration is, in the opinion of most management professionals, the key distinguishing function of the project manager. Integration involves bringing people and things together to perform effectively. Integration is co-ordination and control

1.10 Systems and procedures

Every project should have a set of systems and procedures detailing the standard methods, practices and processes for handling frequently occurring events within the project. These will cover management approvals, controls and technical requirements. Systems will also cover methods of handling information transfer, storage and retrieval.

1.11 Close out

The completion of work once the project has been implemented. This is the phase at the end of the project life-cycle just before Operations begin. Sometimes associated with this is the period known as commissioning when all of the final checks and adjustments are made prior to start up of the facility that has been created.

1.12 Post Project Appraisal

Post Project Appraisal, sometimes called the Post Project Evaluation, completes the project management process once the product is in use. It provides feed-back in order to learn for the future. There are two main stages:

  1. Immediately, to apply the lessons learned to the next project
  2. A longer term review to determine what, if any, adjustments should be made to company policies and procedures.

 

Part 2 - Organization and People

2.1 Organization Design

Organizational design is the design of the most appropriate organization structure for a project, including definitions of roles and responsibilities of the participants. The three basic kinds of structure are functional, project and matrix.

2.2 Control and Co-ordination

Control is the process of establishing targets and plans, measuring actual performance, comparing actual performance against planned, and taking any necessary action to correct the situation.

Co-ordination is the activity of ensuring that the work being carried out in various organizations and places fit together effectively, in time, content, and cost in order to achieve the project objectives effectively.

2.3 Communication

Communication is the effective transmission of information so that the recipient understands clearly what the sender intends. Communication media may take several forms: oral, written, textural, numerical, graphic, body language, paper, electronic, etc.

2.4 Leadership

Management is defined as the art of getting others to do what one cannot necessarily do oneself, by organizing, planning, controlling and directing resources. Leadership is getting others to follow.

2.5 Delegation

Delegation is the practice of getting others to perform work effectively which one chooses not to do oneself because of lack of time, competence or other reasons

2.6 Team Building

Team building is the ability to assemble the right people to join the project team and to get everybody working together for the benefit of the project.

2.7 Conflict management

Conflict Management is the art of managing conflict creatively.

2.8 Negotiation

Negotiation is the art of achieving, to the greatest extent possible, what it is that you wish from a transaction, while leaving all parties to the negotiation sufficiently content that the relationship subsequently works well.

2.9 Management development

Management development covers all aspects of staff planning, recruitment, development, training and assessment.

 

Part 3 - Processes and Procedures

3.1 Work Definition

The definition of project work and organization is achieved through the use of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and an Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). (The OBS may be extended to become a Task Responsibility Matrix.)

3.2 Planning

Every project should have an overall plan, which will vary in size from a few pages for the simple project to a whole volume for a large multi-discipline project. The Plan is owned by the project manager and should include the 'why' and 'what' (a guide to all subsequent decisions); the 'how' (the project strategy and standards) the 'when' (the key dates and bar chart/ network milestones) and the 'who' (the members of the project team, client , consultants, contractors and other stakeholders with their terms of reference, where appropriate). The planning process will establish a baseline for the project.

3.3 Scheduling

Scheduling is selecting and applying the most appropriate techniques for producing a program to meet the project key dates and objectives.

3.4 Estimating

An estimate is a quantified assessment of the resources required to implement part or all of a project. The estimate usually begins as a quantification or measure of resource units required which can then be translated into a financial budget using rate tables or actual costs.

3.5 Cost control

Cost control is the discipline of reconciling planned and actual money or man-hour figures to physical parts of the project.

3.6 Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement is the concept used to represent physical progress achieved in relation to cost and schedule performance by the means of introducing the calculation of Earned Value.

3.7 Risk Analysis and measurement

Risk Management is the process of identification, assessment, analysis and management of all project risks.

3.8 Value Management

  1. Value Management in its broadest sense may be defined as a structured means of improving business effectiveness in line with broad business goals and includes the use of management techniques such as Value Engineering and Value Analysis.
  2. Value engineering is the structured application of a series of proven techniques during the concept and design (or formative stages) of a project which has not yet been implemented)
  3. Value analysis is the application of a similar series of techniques to an existing product, process or organization.

3.9 Change Control

Change Control is the process of registering all potential improvements and other changes. (in scope, specification, cost or schedule) and submitting them for analysis of the project consequences should they be approved. Change Control is also referred to as Variation Control.

The term Configuration Management is also associated with change control. Configuration Management is an extension of Change control, focusing on control of the technical configuration of the project.

3.10 Mobilization

The initiation of project work typically involves bringing together project personnel and securing equipment and facilities. The term 'Project Start-Up' is often used to cover the same period. Start-Up however has a broader meaning, essentially covering the creation of a project team (often involving deliberate Organization Behavior techniques) built around the initial project planning.

 

Part 4 - General Management

4.1 Operations and technical Management

Operations Management is the management of the physical resources (usually labor, equipment and materials) required for design and production whether the product be a manufactured item or a service.

4.2 Marketing and Sales

Marketing is a matching process which brings together the abilities of a company and the wants of its customers to the greatest benefit of both parties. Sales is the process of getting someone to buy the product or service being offered by the company.

4.3 Finance

Finance in a project context essentially covers the process of raising funds in the most prudent and favorable way and of ensuring that the funding is provided, disbursed and allocated efficiently. Management Accounting is the discipline of allocating costs correctly to ensure that management has a clear view of its current and forecast financial performance.

4.4 Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) is the technology, usually computer based, used to ensure that data is gathered, stored, processed distributed and displayed in the most effective manner

4.5 Law

The legal duties, rights and processes which govern in a project situation. There are several different categories of law. The most important include national legal systems, such as the criminal law, but particularly company and commercial law, employment laws, contract law, health and safety and other regulatory requirements such as planning law, data protection, sexual and racial discrimination building regulations, etc.

4.6 Procurement

Procurement covers aspects as follows; an investment appraisal into the options available; procurement or acquisition strategy; preparation of contract documentation; acquisition, selection of suppliers; administration of contracts; and storage, inspection, expediting and handling of materials and equipment.

4.7 Quality

Quality is assuring that required standards of performance are attained. Three different stages of Quality management are typically encountered:

  1. Quality Assurance (QA) defines the procedures and documentation requirements to establish a predetermined level of performance,
  2. Quality Control is the process of measuring that a pre-defined level of performance has indeed been achieved
  3. Total Quality Management is a much broader and more ambitious process involving:
  1. Identifying what (standards performance, requirements) the customer really wants
  2. Defining the organization's mission
  3. Involving all personnel in identifying how (1) and (2) could be better achieved.
  4. 'Designing in' ways in which performance could be improved
  5. Measuring throughout the total production process, how well performance meets these required standards
  6. Analyzing continually how performance can be further improved.

4.8 Safety

Determining standards and methods which minimize to a level considered acceptable by the lay public, the legal system, the operators and others, the likelihood of accident or damage to people and equipment. Ensuring that these standards are respected in operation, and reviewing them to ensure their continued validity.

4.9 Industrial Relations

Management of the work-force, including, but not limited to, statutory responsibilities and duties, negotiating terms and conditions of pay and employment, union and non-union relations, and manpower planning.

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The Association for Project Management (www.apmg-international.com/)