Improving Project Management Skills:
the 3D-PM model


Studies of project performance continue to demonstrate the importance of six ‘critical competencies’ in determining project success. These can be summarised as: Whilst these competencies may seem self-evident, the management of many projects falls short in one or more areas with the result that they under-perform and occasionally fail completely.

Developing the skills needed for success

For a given project or change initiative, performance in the competencies identified above depends on the ‘primary skills’ of those involved. These primary skills broadly fall into three categories or ‘domains’:

The 3D Project Management Model

The 3D project management (3D-PM) model helps illustrate the relationships between the six critical areas of competence and the three primary skill domains. Gaining commitment to clear goals, for instance, requires appropriate visualisation skills (blue) to see new possibilities combined with leadership skills (red) to agree priorities and organisational expertise (green) to recognise what is possible with available resources

The 3D-PM Model graphic

The 3D-PM Model

The 3D-PM model provides a simple holistic approach to project management that goes beyond the traditional focus on techniques and procedures and recognises the vital role of interpersonal skills in creating successful outcomes. In so doing, it offers a framework that helps those involved in project work understand and develop the full management skill-set they need for their own role and responsibilities. It also helps identify the true root causes of project underperformance and develop an effective strategy for continuous improvement. Finally, the 3D-PM model can be used to develop a generic corporate approach to improving project management skills that aligns with other existing frameworks such as those used by the Association for Project Management (APM)and the Project Management Institute (PMI).