In other words, professional development is needed to stay knowledgeable, skilled and competent in the role.
For a long time, project management practitioners have had access to competency frameworks to help them self-assess their levels of competency against best practice benchmarks.
What is a Competency Framework?
“A competency framework is a collection of competences required across the roles in a particular industry or profession. It details the required competences and levels of proficiency needed for each of those roles, encapsulated in role profiles.”
You’ll generally find competency frameworks across most professions – there are certainly already frameworks that exist for project managers and programme managers.
There’s recently a new one for those working in PMO:
“The PMO Competency Framework has been created to provide a standard and a toolset to allow PMO professionals to understand, assess and develop the skills, behaviours and experience to achieve their PMO goals and career potential.”
Ultimately a competency framework becomes a career development tool, something you will keep throughout your career to help you identify skills gaps plus your strengths.
Here are some of the ways you can use a competency framework in your project career.
Ten Different Ways to Use a Competency Framework
- Use a framework to carry out a self-assessment – you work through the competences and identify where your current skills and experience are against the framework.
- Use the outcomes of a self-assessment – to identify where you might be falling short against the standard set in the framework. This is all about identifying your skills gaps.
- Use the knowledge you’ve gained about your skills gaps to address what you’d like to do about that gap – this is the professional development side of using a framework.
- Use a competency framework to assess – or benchmark yourself against an industry-standard – it lets you know how your own skills and experience stack up against a standard.
- Use a competency framework to work out what you need skills-wise to perform at the next level up in your profession – you can carry out a self-assessment on one of the more senior role profiles and see what outcome you get – and more importantly, where the gaps are and get thinking about development needed to close these gaps.
- Use a competency framework and the role profiles to see what competent looks like for the role you perform – you often find that there are some areas your current role doesn’t touch on. This should help you think about development areas for the future.
- Pick up a competency framework and you’ll soon get a feel for that the industry-standard terms are; the terminology used in that industry; how part of the role are actually carried out. It’s a great source when you’re starting out in a new field.
- You can use the outcome of your self-assessment with your manager, even using it as part of your performance review – and definitely as a basis for development discussions.
- You can use a framework to help you develop your CV – role profiles show what is expected in certain jobs in the marketplace; you can use the indicators in a framework to make sure your CV also highlights you are able to perform these actions and tasks.
- You can use a competency framework to write your own job description – how many organisations have you worked in where this is something you’ve had to do – I’ve certainly had to write it many times!