Use PM-SAT, Our PM Self-Assessment Tool

ICB4 CoverThis is a PM Learning and Development assessment tool, now based on IPMA's new ICB4, the Individual Competence Baseline!

Learning helps to develop competence, and certification helps to verify it. Appropriate learning, followed by application of that learning in a variety of projects, is the prerequisite for any certification —especially for advanced, role-based assessments by professional assessors. Thus, IPMA-USA offers this Learning and Development Self-Assessment Tool.

If learning is the first step in competence development, how do project managers, managers, or human resource managers, find the areas of greatest potential opportunity for improvement? Our answer: A PM Knowledge assessment, that you can use to self-assess or team-assess against  ICB4, IPMA's Individual Competence Baseline.

As most educators, trainers and others involved with talent development understand, short-term knowledge must be applied to accomplish anything. In fact, recent research shows that the half-life of learning not applied is two weeks.

The right knowledge can be a strong foundation for the competence progression. BuThat progression ranges (as shown at the right) from knowledge, to skill, to reinforcing attitudes and behaviors, to competence, to performance, that top rung that all stakeholders expect.

Improving your knowledge exposure in the elements where you are weakest should be your development focus —if you wish to improve your own, or your team's project results.

So, how do you decide which are your weakest knowledge areas? Many different PM Competence Models are available to PM learning professionals—groups that can benefit from their rigor, but most are too industrial-strength for the lay-person. We needed an easier-to-use tool, ideally one that could even work for self-assessment of key knowledge on a smart phone. Thus, PM-SAT.

Inspired by the popularity of our Project and Program Management Complexity tool, we offer PM-SAT, our Project Manager's Self Assessment Tool. Like our PPM Management Complexity Tool, it is easy to use, and works on multiple devices, including cell phones and tablets. It does not store your results, but you can print them if you have a way to do so.

Do you already know what you are seeking? Select your PM-SAT competence area here:

About PM-SAT, the PM Self Assessment Tool

The Project Manager's Self Assessment Tool is for personal or team use in evaluating your level of knowledge in the Perspective, Personal, and Practice competences in IPMA's Individual Competence Baseline (IPMA ICB4).

PM-SAT is useful for project managers seeking guidance on the areas of development that can most improve your project and program performance. It is also invaluable for managers of project managers, educators and trainers, and PMO (Project Management Office) consultants. It is especially useful for persons certified in technically-oriented Bodies of Knowledge, who wish to expand their understanding beyond the technical aspects of project management, to the factors that truly differentiate project excellence--and success.

The PM-SAT is an easy-to-use tool for assessing Key Competence Indicators for each of your Perspective, Personal, and Practice competence elements (following the structure of ICB4). Use the links and instructions below to identify your knowledge strengths and gaps in each of these three areas. Note that we offer PM-SAT into these three sections because most people have difficulty in evaluating more than 50-60 criteria at one time. So you can select the area where you think you can improve the most, and focus on it, or complete the entire assessment in three sequential sessions. 

1. Select an ICB Competence group you wish to self-assess against, considering Perspective, Personal, and Practice competences:

  • Perspective competences deal with the context of your project or program, including strategic alignment, governance and structures, compliance, standards and regulations, power and interests, and culture and values.
  • People competences include interpersonal skills and leadership, communication, integrity and reliability, self-management, relations and engagement, teamwork, negotiation, conflict and crisis management, resourcefulness, and results orientation.
  • Practice competences relate to the technical factors of project management--the essential foundations of our discipline. Note that while these are important, they are common in most approaches and global standards; but they are only one part of the success of projects and programs.

2. On your selected PM-SAT assessment, for each of the ICB Elements' Key Coampetence Indicators, select the option button for the rating that best describes your level of knowledge, using the Bloom's Taxonomony-based rating scale (also explained at the top of the assessment page):
     0 None; no or little exposure to the Element or Key Competence Indicator.
     1 Remember: Retrieve relevant knowledge from long-term memory.
     2 Understand: Construct meaning from messages, including oral, written and graphic communication.
     3 Apply; Carry out or use a topic or activity in a given situation.
     4 Analyze: Break material into parts and determine how the parts relate to each other, and an overall purpose.
     5 (Not included in this self-assessment) Evaluate: Make judgements based on criteria and standards.
     6 (Not included in this self-assessment) Create: Put elements together to form a coherent whole; reorganize into a new pattern or structure.

The PM-SAT Rating Scale's basis is the cognitive processes of Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning (the 2001 update is especially relevant for adult learners). Levels 5 and 6 are evaluated in Certification Assessment, but are beyond the scope of PM-SAT's knowledge-assessment for learning and development. In fact, the percentage scores in the model are based on level 2, Understand, as opposed to higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Our experience is that one must usually move the learning beyond the classroom to achieve higher levels. 

3. When you finish one competence group, print the results and identify your greatest areas for improvement. Note that in competence assessment for learning and development, the roles you play affect the target competence levels you need for success. In this knowledge-assessment version, we have not provided targets; however, your items with the lowest score are most likely the areas you should develop. Establish a Development Plan for your areas that have the lowest scores.

4. After assessing one competence group, move along to the next PM-SAT competence group. Many people gain the greatest project improvement by increasing their learning in the Personal competences; the next-most improvements often appear in the Perspective compentences. Other organizations have only recently discovered the importance of these competence groups. IPMA-USA founders have long understood that fact--part of our competence difference.

5. For more information about each of the competences, and the Key Competence Indicators, see ICB4, the IPMA Individual Competence Baseline.

See the three areas of PM-SAT Project Manager's Self Assessment Tool here:

After Completing Your PM-SAT Assessments

PM-SAT Triangle BadgeBuild Your PM-SAT Badge
The PM-SAT Badge, shown at right, illustrates your PM-SAT percentage scores on each of the three areas of Perspective, People and Practice. As you complete (and print for future reference) your three self-assessments, be sure to record your percentage scores. Then you can download our Microsoft Excel PM-SAT Badge file, and create  your own badge. Instuctions are in the file. Or, if you have problems, you can send us your three percentage scores, and we'll send you back your badge! To do so, use this Contact Webmaster link. We will return your custom badge to you, and then you can paste it into your Facebook page, or other locations. 

Career Development Tip
Note the competence indicators you selected that are furthest to the left. These show the highest-priority areas to focus your Learning and Development efforts, to improve your project knowledge foundation. Note that, depending on your role, some competence elements are more important than others.

If you checked most of the competence indicators in the middle-to-right columns, and if you can demonstrate application of each competence, you may be an ideal coach for others in those competence elements.

For Project Managers
Use PM-SAT with your project team (including Sponsors and Resource or Functional Managers) at project start-up, to assess the risks of team members who are weak in their exposure to specific competence areas. Then, engage with your organization's learning managers; or partner, reassign, or work with managers to develop strength in each area of weakness. This is one of the most effective proactive project risk management actions you can take.

For Educators and Trainers
Use PM-SAT to assess yourself and your curriculum. As the demand for competence in the areas beyond technical elements continue to increase, you can differentiate by providing a more complete offering, that aligns with the proven framework of the IPMA Competence Baseline. How does your curriculum score, by percentage, in each of the three PM-SAT areas?

For Managers
You can benefit from an analysis of PM-SAT results, either by using the tool to identify your best-informed Project Managers for your most strategic initiatives, or to reduce the risks of your projects by filling key learning gaps. Do so by having all your project managers self assess (or sit with them while they do so), then placing your top-scoring, highest-scoring project managers on your most strategic projects, while continuing to develop the talents of the rest of your project managers.

Beyond Knowledge
IPMA-USA's advanced certifications move beyond Knowledge to also evaluate skill, attitudes, competence, and demonstrated performance. This PM-SAT is a great first step in the progression, and the most effective individuals, teams and organizations apply the entire progression--to competence, and then to performance.

Contact us with your questions or comments about our PM-SAT learning assessment tools.