Quantitative Measurement of PM Competencies

RT-306 Topic Summary
RT 306


Evaluation of project managers has traditionally been a qualitative assessment. While previous CII research teams have studied Project Manager skills (RT-281, Project Manager Skills for the Future), prior research had not been done on quantitatively determining competencies. The primary purpose of RT-306 was to develop a consistent methodology to define and quantitatively measure the competencies of Project Managers (PM) to:

  • Identify PM competency gaps
  • Focus PM training needs and development
  • Develop and validate an implementable and useable Project Manager Competency Assessment Tool

The Project Management Competency Assessment Tool (PM CAT) was developed from the responses and then verified by a series of pilot tests. The tool has application to all parts of typical engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) project phases. PM CAT can be used to identify competency gaps and, thus, provide guidance to training and development needs (primary purpose); improve individual training; and enhance the selection process of qualified PMs for projects.

This will enhance overall project performance by improving the process by which project managers are developed and selected. In turn, this contributes to CII’s mission to improve overall industry performance.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : List of Project Management Competencies

RT-306 finalized a PM competency list comprising 49 competencies distributed across four categories of PM skills and attributes (RS306-1, p. 8):

  • Knowledge/Experience
  • Management
  • Cognitive (Personal)
  • Leadership
Reference: (RS306-1)

2 : Flow Chart of PM CAT

The flow chart summarizes the logic used for the PM CAT in three steps shown in the figure below. (RS306-1, p. 17)
Reference: (RS306-1)

3 : PM CAT Characteristics

PM CAT is extremely flexible and allows companies to edit answer choices to accommodate company specific terminology, and alter competency weights to match current or future trends. Examples of useful PM CAT facts include the following (RS306-1, p. 19):

  • Can be used to determine training and development needs
  • Vetting tool for potential Project Manager
  • Should not be confused with a performance rating system
Reference: (RS306-1)

4 : PM CAT is Not a Database

RT-306 developed a competency assessment tool effective in evaluating the skills of project managers on EPC projects. PM CAT was not developed with a database for accumulating results. The creation of a database would be useful as future research (RS306-1, p. 21).
Reference: (RS306-1)

5 : Implementation Tool #1

IR306-2, Project Manager Competency Assessment Tool User Manual (PM-CAT)

PM CAT is a user-friendly tool designed to quantitatively assess and score PMs’ competencies.

  1. Provides a thorough list of competencies and definitions that a PM should possess to successfully lead, manage and execute a project
  2. Assess the competencies of a PM and compares him/her to the industry
  3. Improves PM effectiveness by targeting specific development needs to enhance their competencies in a personalized and more efficient manner
  4. Enhance the selection process of qualified or potential PMs
The program allows user organizations or supervisors to customize the individual weighting scheme in the spreadsheet.
Reference: (IR306-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved project performance, Improved project management performance

Research Publications

Quantitative Measurement of Project Manager Competencies - RR306-11

Publication Date: 02/2016 Type: Research Report Pages: 230 Status: Reference

Project Manager Competency Assessment Tool User Manual - IR306-2

Publication Date: 10/2014 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 16 Status: Tool

Quantitative Measurement of Project Manager Competencies - RS306-1

Publication Date: 09/2014 Type: Research Summary Pages: 32 Status: Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - Quantitative Measurement of Project Manager Competencies

Publication Date: 08/2014 Presenter: Number of Slides: 17 Event Code: AC2014

Implementation Session - Quantitative Measurement of Project Manager Competencies

Publication Date: 08/2014 Presenter: Number of Slides: 29 Event Code: AC2014