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A Deeper Look Into the Levin-Ward Competency Model

Running a program as a program manager takes a specific set of competencies similar to that of a project manager, however, there are differences since the role of a program manager is different from the role and responsibilities of a project manager.

My personal experience in large-scale and complex projects and with the individual sub-projects requires program management.  Basically a project manager takes over the role as a program manager and the appointed PM runs the program like a project. To change the management style of the project manager to what is required in program management, a person must understand program management and have personal competences of the new program manager.

That being said, what is a competency and how is it defined?

How we define competency at SUMMSO™

Competency is the project or programme manager’s capability to apply or use a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform critical work functions or tasks in a defined work setting such as a project or program, in such a way that meets stakeholders’ requirements.

The competencies of a project manager and a programme manager may be similar but are not necessarily the same.

In order to bring further clarity between the two roles, we separate the project or programme manager competencies into three dimensions, based on PMCD Framework from PMI® and blend it with the IPMA® competency framework:

  • PM, PgM Knowledge or Technical Competence—What the PM, PgM knows about the application of processes, tools, and techniques for project activities.
  • PM, PgM Performance or Contextual Competence—How the PM, PgM applies project management knowledge to meet the project requirements.
  • PM, PgM Personal or Behavioural Competence—How the PM, PgM behaves when performing activities within the project environment; their attitudes, and core personality characteristics.

To be recognised as fully competent, a project manager would need to satisfy each of these three definitions.

To start the project and programme management competencies article series, we start with the personal competencies for programme managers and provide insights on each specific competency.  To gain a comprehensive understanding, I shall refer to the Levin-Ward Competency Model. Based on this model, the key personal competencies for programme mangers are:

  1. Communication
  2. Leading
  3. Building Relationships
  4. Negotiation
  5. Thinking Critically
  6. Facilitating
  7. Mentoring
  8. Embracing Change

Each topic will be explained in a separate article based on personal and professional experience.  In this series, I provide my personal insights and tips on how to improve each competency for best results in getting projects done. The aim is to increase the knowledge in each competency, deepen the understanding and gain lots and lots of experience.  Experience of course means to take lots of action in projects.

That being said, we will delve into each topic in a separate article.  Wishing you efficiency and the ability to meet challenges in projects with poise and maturity!

Peter Wyss