Project Manager Assessment Tool


Quick Summary
Placing staff into project manager roles can be the most difficult task associated with launching a PMO if it relies heavily upon subjective or cursory assessments of project management capabilities. This assessment reduces some of that subjectivity using detailed questions about the skills and experience required to perform the PM's past and current work: education, project experience, tool familiarity, people management abilities, and more.


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What this is

The Project Manager Assessment Tool is designed to help a manager assign new project managers, or existing project managers who are moving into a PMO, to appropriate positions. The information collected supports a structured discussion with the line manager or PMO head regarding a PM's project management experience, accomplishments, skills, and potential development opportunities–and therefore what level of project responsibility they should initially take on.


Why it's useful

Placing staff into project manager roles can be the most difficult task associated with launching a PMO if it relies heavily upon subjective or cursory assessments of project management capabilities. In organizations without formal PMOs, selection and assignment of project managers can be even more subjective. This assessment reduces some of that subjectivity using detailed questions about the skills and experience required to perform the PM's past and current work–education, project experience, tool familiarity, people management abilities, and more. The assessment process fosters open communication between staff and manager, as well as performance planning, and helps the PM and manager jointly design targeted development plans.

This tool is particularly helpful when assigning internal resources to new positions; it includes candidates in the process and encourages a more objective discussion. It is also a terrific way to assess the project management background and abilities of people managing projects more informally and/or less than 100% of the time who are interested in moving to permanent project manager positions.

This tool can also be used to re-evaluate project management competency among current project managers throughout the year. Asking project managers to take a follow-up assessment on a periodic basis establishes a foundation for ongoing discussions regarding growth and development opportunities. PMO leaders can also use it to identify competency trends across the project management community, in order to build an organization-wide plan to address those needs effectively and efficiently.


How to use it

  1. Ask the project manager to complete the self-assessment form. They should take into account skills they have acquired over their whole career, not just at their current organization. Ask them to provide as much detail as possible and cite real examples.
  2. Review the results together with the project manager. This should be a constructive conversation assessing their current project management competency, and deciding together on the appropriate position, or next steps to prepare for a future position. Your goal is to assign all project managers at an appropriate level of responsibility–e.g., size and complexity of projects they will initially be able to manage–and lay out a logical career path for each PM as their skills and experience grow.
  3. Keep the assessment private. Do not share it with HR unless you are seeking further guidance in evaluating an appropriate project management level. If you find some participants who fall outside the project manager family, work with HR to identify a more appropriate title/role for these positions.
About the Author

As past director of the project management office (PMO) at Boston-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Lisa DiTullio was a core member of the turnaround team for an organization that went from being placed in State-supervised receivership in 1999 to the #1 Health Plan in America on the U.S. News & World Report/NCQA America's Best Health Plans list three years in a row, and the Highest Rated Plan in the Northeast for member satisfaction according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 National Health Insurance Plan Satisfaction Study. Today, Lisa is a leading force in project and business management. She is the principal of Lisa DiTullio & Associates, dedicated to the set-up and management of enterprise project management office models.


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