What to know about the competencies of the Project Manager for the PMP exam!

Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening for all our around the world students! Happy Thursday! Hope everyone is having a great day and looking forward to the weekend!

As I sit here at my desk reviewing my projects and their tasks I realized today is a good day for writing about the competencies of a Project Manager.

Remember when you sit for your PMP exam you must answer the questions based on the PMI standards and processes, not your real life experience.

In PMBOK 4 & 5 there really wasn’t much detail about the skill level of a Project Manager. You just knew the Project Manager was responsible for everything from Initiating to Closing and if anything went wrong it was the Project Manager’s fault.

Fast forward to PMBOK 6 where now PMI has introduced the PMI Talent Triangle which I will explain in detail.

I always tell my students that as a Project Manager you are Jack of all Traits but a Master of Nothing!  So, without a good team you don’t have a successful project, there is no I in TEAM.

Team work is key!

Now let’s dissect this PMI Talent Triangle.

Yes, it’s a triangle with three sides; each side represents the competency a Project Manager must have to successfully run a project.

PMI believes having all three skills will make the professionals more efficient and the project will run smoothly.

One the first side is Technical Project Management skill. The textbook says managing project elements, including, but not limited to, schedule, cost, resources, and risks.  Understanding when to use Agile vs Traditional tools and techniques to ensure the project is run efficiently and effectively.


In simple terms, this entire means is being aware of all project specifications in order to have the ability to have viable solutions for different situations.

For example, if your managing electronic consent project to be integrated into the HealthCare systems for physicians to utilize on their mobile devices.  You might understand that the electronic consent application needs a certain web browser with different security options to be utilized.

You would also need to understand different mobile devices and their web browser capability to ensure the application would work on either an apple or windows device.

As a project manager you must have the technical knowledge of that industry and product so, if a difficult situation arises you would be able to come up with a viable solution.

The lack of technical expertise of the industry or product leads to problems in understanding the technical issues and project details which will jeopardize the successful completion of the project.

Now let’s take a look at the second side of the triangle, Strategic and Business Management Skills. The textbook states the ability to explain the business aspects to others, working with the key stakeholders to develop an appropriate project delivery strategy and implementing the strategy to maximize the business value.

Analyzing the business decisions before you implement them to ensure the organization achieves its long term goals.

For example, let’s take a look back at the electronic consent project on mobile devices. You found out as a project manager that safari isn’t compatible with the electronic consent application.  That only IE can accomplish what they need.  Buying Apple devices will not fulfill the physician’s goals.

You will analyze the business requirements against what the product can offer and present to the sponsors the best solution that will meet their long term goals. In this case, you will let the sponsor know windows devices will accomplish the requirements and in the long run, can be used for other functions.

Last but not least, now let’s take a look at the third side, Leadership Skills.  The textbook states the skills needed to deal with people, personality, politics, power and the ability to get things done.

Let’s take a look into what all this means.  You as the Project Manager have to lead the team to successful completion.  This is where your leadership skills come into play, developing the vision for the team and the project and inspiring them to achieve that target.

Remember there is no I in Team.  It’s about winning as a team! A good project manager is proactive and a problem solver.  She/he is a motivator that connects to the team members at all levels. You work with the team to earn your respect.

Another important part of leadership is your management skills.  Ensuring your team members has the right skills needed to successfully complete their tasks.  If not, to provide them with training or coach them yourself.

Alright, friends, we come to the end of our post today.  Let’s do a quick summary.

PMI is telling us in today’s robust environment a project manager must be adaptable. Having expertise in one skill is not enough anymore. The project manager should possess the skills presented in the triangle to successfully complete the project.

Technical project management skills help you better understand and perform specific functions or tasks

Strategic business management helps you deliver the best business outcomes

social position

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *