Case Study: Designing & implementing a skills and competency framework for a Project management organisation.


Newly created Business Change division – 200 staff across 5 UK sites.


Huge number of projects to be delivered to realise the benefits of a merger. Need to drive high performance, harmonise the approach to managing people, and quickly establish credibility for the new organisation within the merged organisation.



The Challenge

  • Process transformation would revamp all project management and IT processes leading to efficient & consistent ways of working to enable confident & predictable delivery
  • People transformation – introduction of a high performance culture and raising the bar on expected skills and behaviours. Introducing IT professionalism and knowledge sharing.
  • Organisational – more use of third party suppliers, flexible resourcing and assignment based working
  • Raise engagement in transformation programme


  Results & Benefits

  • Provides consistency and a common language and communicated clearly the expected skills and behaviours for all Business Change professionals
  • Foundation for harmonising people management across the merged operations
  • Key tool in assessing development requirements and provides focus and clarity on personal development needs, used in support of external recruitment and internal promotions
  • Improved Business Change’s reputation within the organisation – work was approved by HR and was seen as leading the way for other divisions in how to manage their professional staff.
  • Improved Resource planning and scheduling by providing common currency for planning
  • Provided tool to improve feedback on performance




  • Current State assessment and confirmation of Future State vision for the organisation
  • Identify the target benefits from implementing a skills & competency framework
  • Agree design principles with key stakeholders
  • Research external and internal best practice and incorporate into the framework
  • Road map for implementing the framework and realising the benefits – prioritised actions and rationale
  • Small full-time team with part-time involvement of key stakeholders.


 Success Factors

  • High engagement of stakeholders
  • Credibility with central HR team, must explicitly align with HR frameworks
  • Must be aspirational not merely reflecting current state
  • Implementation must emphasise gaining commitment from managers and professionals in the organisation


 Project Deliverables

  • 7 Business Change skills each with 8 levels
  • Training & education: examples and detailed guidance notes for all users. Covering how the framework is used to support performance management, learning & development, career progression, salary review and promotions processes
  • Highly interactive communication and education events for managers and staff
  • 200 staff assessed against the skill framework in 6 weeks. Results were moderated and calibrated to ensure acceptable quality.
  • Engagement of directors and heads of community in Business Change


 Speed bumps & pitfalls to overcome

  • Stakeholders with diverse and strongly-held views (as a result of merger and number of sites)
  • Aspirational view of skills was seen a threatening by many existing professionals
  • People management seen as low priority versus project delivery
  • HR team not willing / able to provide resource or engage in the technical skill definition