As a project manager, you’ll know that your professional learning doesn’t stop after you pass the PMP® exam. Every day is a learning day on some projects!
The skills you need to deliver successful projects also evolve over time, depending on the industry you are in and the type of work you are doing. If you asked your colleagues, or your peers at a PMI Chapter event, what makes a good project manager, you would hear as many responses as people asked. Being a successful project manager means developing a vast range of skills, competencies and behaviors.
How do you do that? And more importantly, what skills exactly are we talking about? The PMI Talent Triangle™ answers both those questions by providing a framework for your ongoing professional development. The PMI Triangle covers three distinct areas and in this article we’ll explain how it works, and how you can map your PDUs to the Talent Triangle.
The PMI Talent Triangle is at the center for the Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS). The Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook sets out the guidelines and policies for earning PDUs.
Therefore, if you want to earn PMI PDUs and continue your certification with PMI, you need to understand the Talent Triangle.
PMI created the Talent Triangle after consulting with many project managers and industry experts from around the world about what makes an excellent project manager. The Triangle reflects the broad skills and requirements for acting as a professional project manager. It represents the ideal skill set for someone in the role of project manager.
The Talent Triangle reflects the fact that project management isn’t simply about the ‘hard’ skills of technical disciplines like scheduling or project financial management. To be successful as a project manager, you need to be able to draw on a wide range of business management and leadership skills, and that’s what the Triangle is all about.
PMI describes technical project management like this:
Knowledge, skills and behaviors related to specific domains of Project, Program and Portfolio Management.
Technical project management skills help you carry out your role and do the specific tasks that relate to keeping a project on track to deliver the desired outputs. For example, these include carrying out the risk management process. As a project manager, you know to identify risks, analyze their impact, select an appropriate risk response and create an action plan to manage the risk, monitoring your progress and changing your responses accordingly as the situation evolves. That is a part of the domain expertise required to deliver a project.
Many short courses in project management focus on helping you understand the technical skills required to work as a project management and will let you pick up Technical PDU credits. Another way to pick up Technical PDUs is to take a PMP PDU online course: that is, a course specifically aimed at helping you develop your technical project management skills once you have become a certified PMP.
Other examples of technical skills include issue management, estimating, creating a work breakdown structure and scheduling. Without knowledge of these skills you will not be able to manage a project successfully.
PMI describes leadership like this:
Knowledge, skills and behaviors specific to leadership-oriented, cross-cutting activities that help an organization achieve its business goals.
Leadership skills are required because as a project manager, you have to lead a team. And often, they will not work directly for you.
Leadership is about guiding and motivating others so that they understand the vision for the project and are able to carry out their work. There are many models for leadership, and as a project manager, you will select an appropriate approach for the situation you are in.
Leadership skills include brainstorming, dealing with conflict, influencing, listening and team building. You can see how those skills will be important to help you successfully drive the work forward with an engaged project team. You can earn Leadership PDUs for any professional development that helps you build those skills.
PMI describes strategic and business management like this:
Knowledge of and expertise in the industry or organization that enhances performance and better delivers business outcomes.
In other words, this side of the Talent Triangle relates to business-oriented skills. These are skills that managers across multiple disciplines find valuable to ensure they are delivering the best results for their company.
PMI Talent Triangle PDUs in this category would include:
They are important to project managers because without knowledge of these skills, you will struggle to align your project to the business strategy. You will also find it harder to talk to the senior leadership team in your company, because they have developed skills in this area and want to hear about project challenges and successes in terms that link to the wider business management.
Project managers who have strategic and business management skills can really make a positive difference to their organization.
Leadership PDUs or Strategic and Business PDUs automatically count toward ALL your certifications. But Technical PDUs only count toward your specific certification.
There is an exception for "specialized PDUs" (for example, for Agile training). These will count towards both your PMI-ACP® and also your PMP certification. The same goes for “specialized” PDUs in scheduling. However, it doesn’t work the other way round – “generic” topics can never count towards your specialist certifications.
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