Project Manager. What does good look like? Can you point to one person in your organization who sets the standard for leadership, business acumen, and technical project skills?
Can you articulate what the standard is? Too many of us may shrug and say, “Well, not really, but I know it when I see it.” This is a threat to the future of your business.
We’re all about improving performance through project management, but if you do projects and you don’t know your managers’ skill strengths and weaknesses, we see a significant risk to performance improvement. The skill profile is one of the most important levers toward clarity on what skills are required.
Last month we discussed the importance of having a skill profile and a systematic process for reviewing your talent and closing skill gaps. But you must have a standard against which to measure, so now, let’s dive deeper into skill profiles.
As with most successful performance improvement initiatives, it all boils down to good leadership. Here are four leadership development tips to consider:
1. Keep it Simple
When collecting and analyzing data related to poor project performance, ask yourself, “what are the underlying causes?” If it’s lack of competency, it can be fixed. Select the vital few competencies that are linked to your strategies for improving project performance. Arrange them in a weighted profile. Most organizations arrange competencies according to size and complexity of projects, then determine what skill level is required to succeed. In the spirit of simplicity, we suggest high, medium, and low for skill levels.
2. Make it Systematic
To get started, find a model and develop your own Approach. Use an established industry skill framework that is research-based, reliable, and repeatable. Then select only the vital few that will impact your business. Apply the approach to all members of the project management job family, then execute a Full Deployment. At designated intervals, audit the profiles and make adjustments to institute Continuous Improvement.
3. Monitor Performance
Establish an interval for reviewing performance of all members of the PM job family against the profile. It’s a good practice to have multi-rater reviews that build on the supervisor’s observations. It aids in objectivity. When project performance is of utmost importance, organizations ensure the executive team knows the skill level of its PMs and they set aggressive targets for development of skills.
4. Celebrate Results
Track results of assessments and progress on skill development plans, and most importantly, positive movement in project performance trends. Publicize improved outcomes.
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