by Michelle Banner

According to a report last year from the Project Management Institute, there is expected to be a global need for 25 million new project professionals by 2030, meaning 2.3 million new project managers will need to fill project management-oriented roles every year to keep up with the demand. This shortage of talent and the related skills gap may pose a considerable risk to organizations as they rely on project teams to implement strategic initiatives on time and on budget. The question is, “how do we begin to close the skills gap”?

Gartner HR suggests three key areas that are fundamental to answering this question: skills identification, employee motivation, and learning solutions. However, these areas should not be considered in isolation as they are all inter-related. To invest in learning and development effectively requires skills identification, since employees need to be motivated and feel engaged to then embark on any learning solutions suggested. These interrelationships are not static — they evolve as organizational and individual needs change and should be reviewed accordingly.

The most obvious way of addressing the issue of skills identification is to administer maturity assessments for your organization. There are many assessments that focus on Project Management Maturity, but often, these are focused on the organizational processes and procedures rather than individual competency assessment. While they may target where the organization needs to improve, there is no mechanism for individuals to understand their own strengths and opportunities.

Project Controls Solutions has developed a proprietary Project Controls Maturity Assessment (PCMA©) that not only addresses the typical limitations to maturity assessments by assessing individuals as well as organizations, but also covers the three elements of closing the skills shortage that Gartner HR proposes.

Skills Identification: We developed the PCMA© to provide individuals and their managers with a shared understanding of an individual’s current level of project controls maturity across five levels. To provide substance behind the single maturity level, the PCMA© assesses an individual’s knowledge and experience across 25 technical, behavioral, and contextual competencies that are essential to delivering effective project controls. The importance of the “softer” essential skills is becoming increasingly prevalent within project controls delivery to counter the perception that project controls professionals are only “data jockeys.” These skills are critical to organizations being able to add value, work more efficiently, and deliver excellence to their stakeholders.

Employee Motivation: The ability to manage human capital is a significant factor in employee motivation. Allowing individuals to grow within a company is a huge motivator. Shifting opportunities from being provided by hearsay to opportunities being actively managed across the entire organization will help get appropriate personnel to fulfill business needs. Having the right person in the right place at the right time will have a positive impact on project outcomes. It has been stated by many that when you give employees opportunities for growth, it shifts their mindset from “this is a job” to “this is a career.” PCMA© data contains all the information required to be able to undertake the management of human capital across an entire organization.

Learning Solutions: “One size fits all” does not apply to learning solutions. Tailored training programs provide the most benefit to individuals and organizations alike. The PCMA© supports these benefits by providing the empirical data to create personalized training and development plans to develop the required competencies to achieve the desired state.  Understanding an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas leads to personal and professional growth and higher levels of employee and employer satisfaction while remaining cost effective. This is why PCS offers tailored training solutions based on each individual’s PCMA results.

Understanding the strengths and opportunities of individuals and organizations alike will lead to personal, professional, and organizational growth. Using a maturity assessment such as the PCMA© will provide outputs that will:

  • Support the closing of the project controls skills gap
  • Reduce the global shortage of capable project controllers
  • Ensure that the next generation of project controllers are more holistically trained and able to add more value than their predecessors.

The PCMA© has caused organizations to “transform how we think about human capital and rethink our current staffing model” and that for the first time, the data from the assessment gave them visibility into the Project Controls competencies of their personnel. This increased visibility allowed them to make better staffing decisions and improve employee retention.