Competencies of it project managers: A South African perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Information technology (IT) projects are plagued by poor performance rates. Project management competency continuously emerges as a key factor influencing project success. The notion is that project management competency directly influences project performance and subsequently organisational performance. Project management competency consists of three dimensions: skills, knowledge and personal characteristics. Project management skills are often classified as technical or soft skills. A project manager's competence is also determined by their tacit and explicit knowledge. The personal characteristics of a project manager are often overlooked and are argued as a driving factor influencing their competence. The personal characteristics of a project manager directly impacts their ability to manage a project effectively and efficiently. It is important to understand what factors influence project managers' abilities to deliver projects successfully. Failure to do so may lead practice to de-emphasise project management as a means to deliver business value. The purpose of this paper is to determine factors in personal and performance competencies. This quantitative study utilised a survey that was distributed among IT project managers in South Africa. Data from 220 IT project managers were analysed to determine their performance and personal competency levels. The survey requested project managers to evaluate their own performance and personal competencies. Performance competencies focus on the skills and knowledge required for the five phases of project management. Personal competencies focus on the personal characteristic dimensions of communicating, leading, managing, cognitive ability, effectiveness and professionalism. The responses were analysed by way of factor analysis to determine whether these sub-competencies can be grouped into related topics. Current performance and personal competencies are exorbitant as this research shows that the units of competence can be narrowed down into fewer underlying project management competencies. The implications for project management could be that project success is measured on an incorrect basis or that competencies for IT projects are wholly different than for other types of projects. It remains important for practice to ensure that project managers are equipped with the correct skills and that these skills are actually performed properly during the course of the project lifecycle. Practitioners and researchers are thus compelled to address the disjoint between theory and practice as current competencies are inadequate for IT projects. Project management can only thrive as a profession once practical competencies are established as in other true professions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAMOT 2016 - 25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationTechnology - Future Thinking
EditorsLeon Pretorius, George Alex Thopil, Yasser Hosni
PublisherInternational Association for Management of Technology Conference (IAMOT) and the Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)0981581781, 9780981581781
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, IAMOT 2016 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 15 May 201619 May 2016

Publication series

NameIAMOT 2016 - 25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, Proceedings: Technology - Future Thinking


Conference25th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, IAMOT 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Factor analysis
  • Information Technology
  • Project management competence
  • Project success
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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