The competence area “Practice” deals with the core portfolio competencies. It defines fourteen competence elements. They determine the technical aspects of managing projects, programs, and portfolios. Let’s take a closer look at them today. Read on.

Individual Competence  Baseline in the Practice area – table of contents:

  1. Practice 1: Design
  2. Practice 2: Goals, objectives and benefits
  3. Practice 3: Scope
  4. Practice 4: Time
  5. Practice 5: Organization and information
  6. Practice 6: Quality
  7. Practice 7: Finance
  8. Practice 8: Resources
  9. Practice 9: Procurement and partnership
  10. Practice 10: Plan and control
  11. Practice 11: Risk  and opportunities
  12. Practice 12: Stakeholders
  13. Practice 13: Change and transformation
  14. Practice 14: Select and balance

Practice 1: Design

Design describes how the requirements, wishes, and influences of one or more organizations are interpreted and evaluated by an individual and then translated into a high-level design of the project to ensure the highest probability of success. From the analysis of the external context, we sketch a preliminary plan of the overall architecture of how the project should be set up, developed, and managed.

This includes resources, funds, stakeholders’ objectives, benefits, and organizational change, risks and opportunities, governance, final product, priority, and most urgent issues. Since all external factors and success criteria (and/or their perceived relevance) often change over time, this initial plan should be reviewed periodically to keep it up-to-date. 

Practice 2: Goals, objectives and benefits

Every project is initiated because internal and external stakeholders want to make a profit. This competency element describes the reasons why the project exists – what goals and benefits need to be achieved, what tasks need to be performed, and which stakeholders’ requirements need to be met.

All these issues arise from the needs, expectations, requirements, and strategic goals of the organization the stakeholders represent. The intent of this competency element is to enable the individual to build a link between what the stakeholders seek and what the project is intended to deliver.

practice area

Practice 3: Scope

Scope defines the specific focus or content of the project. It describes outputs, results, benefits, and the work required to produce them. What is more, it describes what is not part of the project. In essence, the scope defines its boundaries. This competency element is designed to help the individual to understand where the project boundaries are in order to manage and control it, and to learn how it influences (and is influenced by) decisions when it comes to the management and its execution.  

Practice 4: Time

This competency element involves scheduling all stages and tasks of a project over time to optimize its execution. The purpose of scheduling is to determine when to perform certain tasks, thanks to which the implementation of a given project will be as efficient as possible. Tasks should therefore be analyzed, preferably presented graphically in a diagram or schedule, and assigned to the appropriate people or teams. The duration of each task should be estimated and placed in time. This will ensure that the sequence of activities is maintained and that the entire process is optimized.

Practice 5: Organization and information

It encompasses the definition, implementation, and management of the temporary project organization. It defines required roles and duties as well as effective communication in an organization. This competence element also includes the creation and storage of documentation, as well as planning communication processes and human resources. It ensures an efficient flow of information between people and high-quality decision-making. 

Practice 6: Quality

Quality in a project can be understood in two ways. First, it means the quality of the process itself – that is, the way the project is organized. It refers to the introduction, implementation, and checking of standards, maintaining quality at each stage of the project. On the other hand, it means managing and controlling the quality of the products and results of the entire project. The concept of quality refers to the entire project from its initiation to the handover of the finished solution.

practice area

Practice 7: Finance

The concept of finance includes all activities related to estimating, planning, spending, and controlling the funds flowing in and out of a project. At the initial stage of the project, the individual must determine which costs are necessary for the project – this is called defining the budget. The individual also has to take actions related to the way the project is financed or funded. 

Practice 8: Resources

This competency element includes defining, acquiring, controlling, and developing all the resources necessary to meet the targets of the project. These resources can be people, but also their knowledge and experience, facilities, equipment, materials or tools, etc. – all the goods necessary to perform the planned tasks and achieve the set goals. This competence defines how to acquire and use resources, optimize and control them for the best possible efficiency of the project.

Practice 9: Procurement and partnership

It covers all processes from procurement planning to purchasing and contract administration. It allows you to get the best available value from a given supplier or partner, which helps deliver the best value for the buyer and organization. 

Practice 10: Plan and control

Based on the design, all its elements form a balanced plan. Its implementation should be controlled and regularly updated, following changes occurring in the project or its context. This competence combines all the necessary information and enables decision-making. The essential cyclical process includes successively: planning, executing, monitoring, and correcting the plan or its implementation.

Practice 11: Risk and opportunities

It deals with the identification, assessment, strategy planning, and control of risks arising within a project. Proper management of risks and opportunities can help decision-makers take informed decisions based on available information and assign priorities to specific activities. Risk management is an ongoing process – so it occurs throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Practice 12: Stakeholders

This competency element involves identifying, analyzing, engaging, and managing stakeholders’ attitudes and expectations. The main objective of this competency element is to ensure that the individual maintains stakeholder engagement by effectively managing stakeholders’ expectations and interests, as well as their impact on the project.

Practice 13: Change and transformation

Change (i.e., improving the current situation, keeping the past in mind) and transformation (i.e., the development of new situations, based on a vision of the future) enable the processes, tools, and techniques by which an organization and its employees can make modifications leading to the adoption and implementation of a change. This makes it possible to achieve the expected results and success of the overall project.

Practice 14: Select and balance

This is the last competency element. It describes the selecting and balancing of components of portfolios. It focuses on evaluating, selecting, and monitoring the performance of projects and programs, making sure that the portfolio as a whole brings optimal benefits for the organization.

You’ve just read an article on Individual Competence Baseline in the Practice area. Read also: How to tackle major issues in project management.

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Individual Competence Baseline in the Practice area - Part 6 IPMA Certification Guide caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

IPMA Certification:

  1. What is IPMA certification?
  2. Four level certification 4LC
  3. IPMA certification process
  4. IPMA Competence Baseline
  5. Individual Competence Baseline in the Perspective area
  6. Individual Competence Baseline in the Practice area
  7. Individual Competence Baseline in the People area