Mudassir Iqbal

Project Manager’s Capability and Skills Development

As it is said in the article(2) by Merla, E. (2011) ” As a project manager, your success is dependent on your mastery of many skills—both hard skills as well as soft skills”. In addition, to manage the Project systematically and complete them successfully, we also keep on learning on the project.

It is said 5 stages of Capability and Skills Development as mentioned in Project Manager Competency Development (PMCD) Framework.

Learning Cycle

The true project master never stops growing professionally. Although the initial learning curve can be short or long, once mastery has been achieved, the project master continues to learn in a never-ending cycle of novice, student, practitioner, expert, and master.

The 5 stages of Capability and Skills Development

5 stages of Learning


Unconsciously Incompetent

You are not aware of your incompetence or lack of knowledge. You don’t know what you don’t know. As written in Wikipedia, The Individual deny the usefulness of the skills and therefore spends a lot of time in this stage.

Consciously Incompetent

You are already aware of your incompetence or the skills you don’t have. You have a fair understanding of the importance of the new skill but you do not understand and know how to do something. This is where your learning begins. You become aware that you dont have the skill

Consciously Competent

Here, we make a choice that we are learning and practising skills. You need to consciously apply the acquired skill. You consciously learn and practie the new skills

Unconsciously Competent

There is an interesting difference between Stage 4 and Stage 1. In Stage 1, you consider yourself master of all and you don’t bother to learn anything new. In Stage 4, you don’t know what you know. You do the skills without thinking, this becomes your second nature.

Conscious Competence

The ultimate stage, where we not only practice the skills but we maintain them also. This is about continuous personal improvement.

This stage is also called “meta-conscious competence” (Chapman, 2007). Bello in the paper(3) called it “continuous learning competence” (for developing oneself) or “competence-aware leadership” (for developing others).

The comparison

Noise Unconsciously Incompetent
Student Consciously Incompetent
Practitioner Consciously Competent
Expert Unconsciously Competent
Master Conscious Competence

The 10,000 Hours theory

The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field. Though many recent studies have argued that there are many other factors involved in becoming world-class.

Outliers: The Story  of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

10,000-Hour Rule”, the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practising the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours.

You don’t get benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal



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